February 22, 2021

03

The Relic 02 Oil Paint Rendered — Down East North Carolina
Getting what we want
and having our way
take us straight to the heart
of the Wasteland.

Everybody knows what they want:
Their Way!
And everybody thinks it is all
someone else's fault
that things never work out for them.

Things never work out
because they want the wrong things,
and try to acquire them 
in the wrong ways.

Things take an immediate turn
toward better
when we want the right things
and work toward them
in the right ways.

The surest way to get what you want
is to change what you want.

But--nobody wants to change what they want.

Everybody has to get to the end of their rope
before they will change their minds
about what they want.

Why wait?
Other than because we are slow on the uptake
and hard-headed as well.

What's the solution?
Intervention sometimes works.
AA talks of "Raising the bottom,"
and giving an alcoholic
an inescapable dose of reality,
in hopes of bringing truth to the rescue.

If that doesn't work,
there is no way quicker to realization,
illumination,
enlightenment,
and awakening,
than allowing our life to play itself out
and bring us to the point of
no place left to turn.

There, the choice
between life and death.
Life is on the basis of 
something other than
"I know what I'm doing
and I want what I want!"
Death is generally
the last wanted thing.

We could make it easier on ourselves
by seeing the emptiness
of our wants and desires
from the start.
That is no more difficult
that looking with eyes that see.
But it is amazing
how difficult that is.

–0–

02

The Relic 01 Oil Paint Rendered — Down East North Carolina
It is all grist for the mill.

What are we milling is the question.

How consciously are we milling it
is the other question.

How much do we interfere 
with the milling process
is the third question.

Answer those questions correctly,
and we have it made.

If we are milling maturity
and compassion,
kindness,
generosity,
goodness
and grace,
we will have an outcome different
than the one we will have
if we are milling self-advancement,
animosity,
resentment,
revenge,
anger,
hatred,
rutlessness
and greed.

What we are milling
depends upon 
how we look at what we see.
And that depends upon
how we evaluate
what we look at.

Interpretation is everything.
We translate all that happens to us
in ways that are meaningful to us.
Our place is to evaluate
the value/worth of what is meaningful.
How well we do that
tells the tale.

In light of what 
do we evaluate the value
of what is valuable?

What is our primary value
around which everything else
coalesces?
How free are we to call that value
into question?
To probe, inquire, examine, investigate,
evaluate, authenticate or reject
the value at the heart of our life?
How good is the good we call good?
Who is to say?

Who is in charge of saying
what is worth our time 
on the earth?

Ask around.
See what people have to say
in the matter.
Find out how they know
that the value around which
their life revolves
is worth anything at all.

–0–

01

Little River at the Sinks Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Jesus and the Buddha agreed on 
the most important things.
They said,
"You people care too much
about the wrong things!"
And, "You people don't have a clue
about what is important!"
And, "You people care about things
that don't matter at all!"
And, "You people have to wake up,
see what is important
and care about that--
with all your heart, 
and soul,
and mind,
and strength!"

And the people crucified Jesus
and assassinated the Buddha
by poisoning his pork.
And, if they didn't,
both Jesus and the Buddha
made enough enemies
among "the people"
for it to be a possibility,
no matter how remote.

You make enemies
by telling people
they shouldn't care about
what they care about,
and should care about 
something else instead.

But that remains,
to this day,
the only thing wrong
with people
and the way the world works.

Everybody cares about the wrong things.
Get everybody caring
about the right things,
and the world is transformed
overnight.

Start with yourself.

Examine carefully the things 
you care about.
Decide for yourself
which ones are not important.
Stop caring about them.

Do this exercise once a week,
say on Saturday or Sunday,
for the rest of your life.

That day will be unto you 
as a Holy Day,
a day of reckoning
about what is important
and what is not--
a day of remorse and repentance,
a day of atonement and redemption,
a day of reorientation and re-dedication
away from what doesn't matter,
and toward what does matter most of all.

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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