March 16, 2021


Hwy 74 Spring 04/03/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — North Carolina
Joseph Campbell said that aging is a process of refinement.
Over time we settle on what is important,
filter out the nonsense and the drama,
and spend our last years 
with what matters most.

What that is will be different 
for each of us,
but all of us know what is important to us,
and what is not.

I'm for spending what time remains
with what means the most to me.

It was the pirate's life for Jack Sparrow,
it's the hermit's life for me.
Silence and solitude,
reflection and wool-gathering,
walk-a-bouts without leaving home.
Reading and writing
and working things out.
I could do it eternally
and be as eager for more 
at any point 
as I was when I started.

What would do it for you?
What has shown itself to be worth your time?
Make room for it in your life,
while life lasts.



Congaree 04/11/2016 07 Oil Paint Rendered — Congaree National Park, Columbia, South Carolina
There is the way things are,
and there is the way we feel 
about the way things are.

We can work to change
the way things are,
and we can work to change
the way we feel
about the way things are.

The grounding,
realization is
"This is the way things are,
and this is what can be done 
about it.
And that's that--
and that's the way things are."

Recognizing how things are
is a step on the way to 
coming to terms with how things are,
and that is a step on the way
of accepting the fact
that the way things are
is the way things are,
and how we feel about it
isn't going to change it,
and it is going to impact 
how we live in relation to it.

How we live in relation 
to the way things are
is the crucial matter
in determining how well we live at all.

In order to live as well as possible
amid the way things are,
we have to realize 
what can be changed
and what cannot be changed
about the way things are,
and then work on changing 
the way we feel 
about the way things are.

puts us in accord with
our circumstances
with equanimity,
balance and harmony--
and creates an atmosphere
that supports the best life possible
under the circumstances.

And that is as much
as anyone can ask/hope for
in any circumstances. 



Downy Woodpecker 02 Oil Paint Rendered — Scenes From My Hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina
Sit still,
be quiet,
for what arises,

Notice what you are blocking,

"The stone the builders rejected,"
you know...
"Nothing good comes from Nazareth,"
you know...

Insisting on the wrong thing
got Adam and Eve a quick exit
from the Garden.

Refusing to have anything to do with
the right thing
kept them from returning.

The way back to the Garden
is like death.
Where are you refusing to die?
Again and again?

Redemption and atonement
are like death and resurrection,
and are the price we pay
for coming to life
again and again.
The toll on the road
from bondage to freedom.

What is the nature of your bondage?
What is the cost of your freedom?

Squaring up to the truth
sets us free
to do what needs to be done
here and now,
moment to moment,
in each situation as it arises.

Bondage to the truth is freedom.
Bondage to denial, desire, fear
is death.
But it takes dying
to be born again and again
on the path from death to life.

Dying is saying no to the right things,
and saying yes to the right things--
in a world where right is wrong,
and wrong is right,
and where perspective keeps things
as they are,
and flips to turn things
into all they might be.

We are always one slight shift in perspective
away from having it made.

So we sit,
still and quiet,
waiting and watching
for the perspective shift
that is death and life
and the transformation of all things.

The Day of Atonement.
The Return to Eden.
The Rapture at the end 
of one time
and the beginning of another--
all occasioned
by the way we see
what we look at.

Death and life
as an optical illusion,
realized by turning the light around,
and changing our mind
about what is important,
and what is not.

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: