February 21, 2021


Glade Creek Mill 02 Oil Paint Rendered — Babcock State Park, Clifftop, West Virginia
We like to think George Bailey and Jefferson Smith
(The Mr. Smith who goes to Washington)
are Everyman,
and that Donald Trump and his people
are not.

The assumption is not valid.

The people who profit handsomely
at someone else's expense
are legion. 
Beyond counting.
And they never stop with the conniving, 
coming up with new ways
to make money at our expense.

Jimmie Stewart did us no favors.

We have to be alert
and at the ready
at all times.
We cannot assume everything is fine,
or that we can trust people
to be who they say they are,
or to have our best interest at heart.

They have their best interest at heart.

If you think that is cynical,
pay attention to the news.
My position is ratified,
and confirmed
every day.

They are everywhere.

And so, we have to stay tuned into
what is going on.
Congressional inspectors have their place.
Local newspapers were good sources for 
investigative reporting,
but they are nearly gone.

The Lobbyists who write the bills
that Congress passes,
write in loop-holes that effectively
neutralize the bills that pass.

Cheating, lying, stealing is
a big time business.
The George Baileys and Mr. Smiths
are swamped,
in "The Swamp is alive and well"
sense of the term.



Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Oil Paint Rendered — Before the Move, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Hatteras Island, North Carolina
We have to bear the pain
of our own development.

We grow up against our will.

We draw our own lines,
establish our own boundaries,
assume the duties that are rightfully ours,
and live within the limits
we set for ourselves.

We determine the Thou Shalts,
and the Thou Shalt Nots,
that are ours to honor and serve.

"We are the marble
and we are the sculptor"
(Alex Carrel).
We are the chisel 
and we are the stone.

We are who we become over time.
With luck,
we become who we are over time.

"We shall not cease from exploration,
and the end of all of our exploring,
will be to arrive where we started,
and know the place for the first time"
(T. S. Eliot).

If it goes well, 
after all that work,
we will be us at last.
"The shortest way through
is the long way around."

It takes a lot of looking
to be able to see.
We learn as we go--
that is what going is for.

Live so that each day
brings us closer to who we are,
or at least doesn't take us
farther away.



Blue Ridge Fall 01 Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, Big View, Virginia
If you have an agenda,
you have an idea for the situation
that is not organic to the situation.
You are bringing something 
to the situation
that is foreign to the situation.
You are willing an outcome
upon the situation
that doesn't take the needs of the situation
into account.
You are imposing your idea
of the good of the situation
upon the situation.
You are saying,
"NO! Not this! THAT!"
What needs to happen, here and now,
is the question.
Not what do you want to happen.

Our duty--
our dharma--
is to be true to ourselves
within the circumstances
of the time and place
of our living.

What is it time for, here and now,
is the question.
We have to bear the pain of the answer,
and do what needs to be done,
regardless of what we want done.

How objective can we be,
is the question.

I have left situations
that needed something
I could not give them
without betraying myself.
It would have been wrong
to impose my idea for the situation
upon the situation.
And, it would have been wrong
to turn away from myself
and my need for self-expression
and self-determination.

I have also remained in situations
and changed the situation
to reflect my understanding
of what the situation needed,
and other people have left,
unable to embrace and participate in
what I was doing.

How do you know when to do what?
There is no formula that says,
"Here is where you do this,
and there is where you do that."
There is only being still and quiet
and seeing what arises in the silence
as an impulse from your nature,
and living out of that knowing.

We wait for the mud to settle
and the water to clear
in order to know what it is time for
here and now.

Our agenda is to see what we look at,
to hear what is called for,
and to do what needs to be done
in light of what we see and hear.



At the Dock, Too Oil Paint Rendered — Silver Lake, Ocracoke Island, Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Be what the moment 
needs you to be!
Be what is called for,
moment by moment!

Sometimes that means taking a nap.
"Eat when hungry,
rest when tired."

Read the moment,
moment by moment.
Go where you are being asked to go.
Do what you are being asked to do.

Our moments carry us along
to where we are going.
If we ignore what the moment
is calling for,
and follow our dreams,
whatever they might be,
they will bring us back
to where we started,
having learned, perhaps,
to listen to the moment,
and be what it is calling us to be.
And do what it is calling us to do.

It may be that following our dreams
was it to begin with.
And it may be that was the moment's way
of waking us up 
to the importance 
of the moment.

Our moments add up to a life.
Do enough moments well
and we do a life well--
and that is the most
that can be asked of anyone.

We cannot do more 
than to live moment by moment well.
Start with any moment,
this one, say,
and it will lead to the next moment.
Before you know it,
you will have lived an entire life well,
one moment at a time.
Just by doing what was called for.

The art of life.

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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