April 10, 2021

01

A Flight of Geese November, 2010 Oil Paint Rendered — Lake Brandt, Greensboro, North Carolina
Pace and timing, Kid.
Pace and timing.

The geese fly when it is time for flying.
The photographer takes the picture
when it is time to take the picture.

Now is always "the acceptable time"
for something.
Being right about what
is where we come in.

It is our place in the cosmos
to know what it is time for 
here and now,
and to be right about it,
and to rise to the occasion
and do the best we can
in the service of the What,
Here and Now--
and let that be that,
as we move on to the next here and now,
looking, 
listening,
for the What that needs to happen then and there.

It is always the right time for something.
Maybe a nap.
Maybe a pizza.
The possibilities are well nigh infinite.

We have to be alert to our choices
and sensitive to what is being called for,
to what we are being asked to do.
Curve ball or slider,
or a fast one on the inside corner?
It is our place to know these things.
And it is the batter's place as well.
How it all unfolds
is what we are here to find out,
in the moment-to-moment
Adventure of Being Alive.

Pace and timing, Kid.
Pace and timing.

–0–

02

Hemlock Woods 06/06/2011 03 Oil Paint Rendered — Roan Mountain Highlands, Carver’s Gap, North Carolina, Tennessee
"Many are called, but few are chosen,"
said Jesus of Nazareth.
Along with,
"The Kingdom of God is spread out
all over the earth,
and no one sees it."
And:
"What you seek is right before you,
right here, right now,
and people walk by it unknowing,
like it is a treasure hidden
in a field by the side of the road,
or a priceless pearl 
in the costume jewelry bin
at the local flea market,
or a stone the builder's reject."

Of course, there is a catch.
Joseph Campbell points it out
with his,
"What you seek lies far to the back
in the darkest corner 
of the cave you most don't want to enter."

The new life we long for
will eat our old life alive.

That is the reason for many being called
and few answering the call.

Do we have what it takes
to do what needs to be done?

Jesus' death on the cross
doesn't save anyone from anything.
It points the way to everyone
to the path of being fully alive
in the time left for living.

The trek to the empty tomb
takes us through the Garden of Gethsemane
and across the face of Golgotha,
into the depths of the cave
we most do not want to enter.

They don't mention that to you
in the sermons about Easter Morning.

Theology denies the very truth it proclaims.

The truth only sets us free
to do what needs to be done.
How free is that?

We want to be free
to do what we want
and have it thrill us
the way we want to be thrilled.

And that's what the truth
sets us free from
in setting us free for
doing what needs us to do it
here and now,
where what we want
only gets in the way. 

–0–

03

Mute Swans 08/16/2019 Oil Paint Rendered — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina
I will run out of time
before I run out of things to say.
And some things can't be said often enough.
So, here we go.
Again.
Some more.
As always.

Doing what needs to be done,
when and where it needs to be done,
the way it needs to be done,
with the gifts, genius, daemon
(sounds like "diamond")
that come with us from the womb,
is not beyond any of us.

What keeps it from happening
all of the time?
The stake we have in the outcome.

Something is at stake in every moment.
Something is to be gained.
Something is to be lost.
Something matters to someone
more than doing what needs doing.
Someone will do anything 
to get something,
or to keep from losing something.

What needs to be done in each moment
is lost and forgotten,
ignored and overlooked,
by those who live in the service
of getting and keeping what they want.

Our own personal good--
or that of those we love--
is our highest good.
The good of the moment
doesn't have a chance.
The moment is here only for our good.
We are not here for the moment's good.

We cannot be good for the moment
because we are here for our good
in every moment.

And that is the kink in the hose.

–0–

04

Goodale 10/25/2019 11 Oil Paint Rendered — Adams Mill Pond, Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina
That Which Has Always Been Called "God"
is the Silence at the Heart
of Life and Being--
which is also the Source of Life and Being--
which is also the Mystery of Life and Being.

Calling it "God"
and doing flips 
to get it to do our bidding
is one of the best examples
of self-deception being labeled
"self-evident,"
and passing itself off for 
"revealed truth"
in the Big Book of Tricks We Play on Ourselves.

There is only us and the Silence
and all that comes from the Silence
into the sphere of Life and Being--
eventually returning to the Silence,
and to what then,
we do not know.

All we know is right here right now.
What we make of it
and do about it
is up to us.

"Right" and "wrong"
are ways of structuring 
our experience of Live and Being,
but both are dependent upon 
the needs of the moment at hand
in conjunction with the times
that are always a-changing,
but within which it is possible
to be "ahead of the times"
or "behind the times."

To be "at one with the times,"
"in sync with the times,"
"in accord with the times,"
is to be "in the flow of Life and Being,"
and to "have it made"
as much as we can have it made
within the time and place of our living.

But that is to also be somewhat 
"ahead of the times,"
and "behind the times,"
at the same time.

And it is all a part of the dance
with the Mystery at the Heart of Life and Being.

"There is only the dance" (T.S. Eliot).

–0–

05

November 08 11/04/2019 Oil Paint Rendered — Doughton Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
At some point,
we are all on our own
and have to make out 
as best we can.

That being the case,
it would behoove us
to learn how to read the Silence
and sense what is emerging,
arising,
beckoning,
calling,
guiding,
directing there,
and rely on it
as "a very present help"
in all times and places.

Our relationship with ourselves
and the Silence 
is the sustaining,
creative,
source of Life and Being
throughout our life,
and tending that relationship
is the most important/helpful
thing we can do for ourselves
in finding our way 
along the way.

Sit still,
be quiet,
and wait,
watch,
look,
listen
for what occurs to you 
in the silence--
on a regular, recurring, basis.

And decide for yourself
what to do about what happens there.

"We are the sculptor
and we are the stone"
(Alexis Carrel). 

–0–

06

Parker’s Creek 02 10/19/2013 Oil Paint Rendered — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, Pamlico Sound
What's helpful?
What works?

These are two centering,
grounding,
focusing questions
that every graduating senior
from high school,
junior college,
college,
university,
graduate school
should be required to answer
with a 200 word essay.

Comparing their answers over time
would be revealing,
and would reflect the graduate's
maturation over the course of their studies.

Very little else does that.

How do we measure maturation
with any degree of clarity?
We can do an adequate job 
of defending a PHD thesis
without any idea of what is helpful
or what works.

But, if we are going to do much 
of a job with our life,
we have to figure these two things out,
and apply our answers appropriately,
early on.

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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