February 06, 2021

Smoky Mountain Views 04/11/2014 04 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
We are looking for 
what is meaningful
when we take up The Quest,
and go forth in search
of what exactly we do not know.
We only know "this" is not it.

Because "this" is not meaningful.
And we cannot think up meaningful.
We cannot decide what will be meaningful.
Meaningful is like falling in love.
We do not make it happen.
It Whams! us, 
right out of nowhere.
We don't see it coming,
and it always catches us by surprise.

We find meaningful
by not ruling anything out.
"The stone the builders reject,"
you know.
We don't want to miss meaningful
by deciding beforehand
what it would never be.

We have to be open to everything,
and get out of the way
with our "Maybe this,"
and "Maybe that."

We have to quit looking,
stop searching,
forget about seeking,
and wait.

Go about our life,
waiting,
watching.
Open and alert,
but not pushing any agenda,
giving ourselves to things
we find to be interesting.

Looking closer at things
that catch our eye.

Letting nothing get by unseen,
unnoticed, ignored.

We examine it all.
Listening to see 
what calls our name.

The search becomes meaningful
in this way. 
We are just being aware of our life
in the moment of our living.
Being interested in what is with us
here, now.
Enjoying the moment,
while we wait, watching.

That is doing our part,
and we let nature take its course,
looking forward to hearing 
our name called
by some white rabbit,
flashing around a corner,
then peeking back around at us,
winking.

–0–

03

Spruce Islands Oil Paint Rendered — Penobscot Bay, Deer Isle, Maine
It comes down to this
and never goes beyond it:
Doing the right thing,
at the right time,
in the right way.

Moment-by-moment
in each situation as it arises.
That's it.

There is nothing beyond that
to ask, 
or seek,
or desire,
or wish for,
or hope for.

Old age is where I remember and regret
all of those times up to now
where I did not do the right thing,
at the right time,
in the right way.

What was I thinking?
Absolutely nothing!

But that can't hamper me 
from beginning now,
today,
being consciously aware 
of the importance
of doing the right thing
at the right time,
in the right way.

Doing it, of course,
is another matter.

–0–

02

Sunrise 10/23/2012 Oil Paint Rendered — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
How we spend our time
is a reflection of our values,
which is another way of saying
what is meaningful to us
(What are values that are not
meaningful?).

How does the way you spend your time
actually exhibit/serve
what is meaningful to you?

What is meaningful to you?

Meaningful is what you would do
for the sake of doing it alone--
what you would do whether 
you got anything else out of it,
beyond doing it,
or not--
what you would pay to do
because you love to do it.

What is that in your life?

How does the way you spend your time
reflect/express that?

Could anyone tell what is meaningful to you
by the amount of time you spend doing it?

The only fair estimation of the value
something has for you
is the amount of time you spend with it,
doing it.

What holds the place of high value in your life?
What is your evaluation of what you value?

–0–

01

Country Cemetery 01 05/16/2015 Oil Paint Rendered — Lancaster County, South Carolina
Fascination meets mystery,
as Ortega e Gasset might say,
"at the edge of the coin."

Fascination is the hallmark of mystery,
mystery is the ground of fascination's being.

We are fascinated by that which 
we neither expect nor fully comprehend.

DNA fascinates me.
Our DNA comes packed with stuff
beyond imagining. 

How did it get in there?

Light waves exist in a spectrum
that stretches from LA to New York.
We see about a half mile of that spectrum.

Sound waves reverberate from hydrosonic
to sonic to supersonic to hypersonic.
Who knows what we are missing?

We are immersed in mystery!
Awash in mystery!

We don't know 1/2 of 1 percent
of what is to be known!

And we take ourselves to be something
because of all we know and can do.

What sits us down?
What leaves us agape and agog?
What fascinates us
and swathes us in mystery?

How long has it been since we were
silenced by the mystery of existence?

Start with nothing.
How do you get a rock?

Start with nothing?
Why is there nothing?
Where did it come from?
What is it up to?
What does it dream of?
Hope for?
Would it know what to do
with a bowl of homemade ice cream?
Would it have to invent us
to find out?

Where did we come from?

What are we doing with our time?

Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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