April 12, 2021


Hanging Rock 01 Oil Paint Rendered — Hanging Rock State Park, North Carolina, Overlooking the Piedmont
Nothing is more important than
being right about what is important,
and serving it with your life
through each situation
as it arises
from beginning to end.

The same thing goes for what matters most.

Human beings throughout time,
have been famous 
for missing the point of their life,
striving for the wrong ends,
using means inappropriate to the occasion
and barking up the wrong tree.

For not having a clue about what's important.

We have done what everybody else was doing
in the service of what everybody else
said was important.
Or done what somebody else 
told us was important.
Lived to please the wrong people,
and spent our life doing the wrong things.

Jesus said it best:
"Why don't you judge for yourselves
what is right?"

What is right?
Who says so?
What do you say?
How do you know if you are right
about what is right?

Take up the quest
to discover who guides your boat
on its path through the sea.

Who tells you what is right
and what is wrong,
what is good, 
what is bad,
what is important,
what matters most.

And what makes you think
they know what they are talking about?

Or, do you just not want 
the responsibility yourself,
and don't care if they know
what they are saying or not?

If you were all alone in the world,
how would you decide/know what to do?



AT Through A Hemlock Forest 06/25/2010 Oil Paint Rendered — Roan Mountain Highlands, Carver’s Gap, North Carolina, Tennessee
The Bible is a collection of writings
from people about what they thought
was important,
collected by people who thought
what they had to say was important.

It belongs to, 
and needs to be read
in conjunction with,
all similar writings by other people
throughout time,
as a source of reflection
for our own ruminations
regarding what is important,
and a pathway to realization
as we make connections,
find similarities,
uncover themes and trends,
ask all the questions that beg to be asked
(And all the questions their answers
beg to be asked)
in forming our own idea 
about what matters most,
finding our own center,
anchoring ourselves onto our own foundation,
and living in light of,
and in service to,
what we know to be important
out of our own experience with life
and our own observations
of life being lived around us.

What is helpful?
What works?
What is guiding our boat
on its path through the sea?



Lake Marion 2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Santee State Park, Orange County, South Carolina
Every single thing in the cosmos
(And anywhere else)
strives for homeostasis,
for balance and harmony,
for equilibrium, 
smooth and easy.

That is the first thing.

The second is this:
Flowers turn toward the sunlight,
bees search out the flowers,
ants find the picnics,
cats land on their feet,
and water seeks its own level.

Every single thing in the cosmos
has its own innate nature,
its own original nature,
its own way of doing things.

Roots go downward,
limbs and branches go upward.
Geese fly south in the fall
and north in the spring.

And nothing knows why.

That is the second thing.

This is the third thing:
How does this pertain to you?
What does this have to do with you?
How do you fit into this picture?

How do you find your balance and harmony?
What is your original nature?
How do you assist with--
or work against--

How is this going to impact 
your way with life
going forward?



The Other Side of the Tracks 11/2010 Oil Paint Rendered — Greensboro, North Carolina
Where do you take refuge?
Where do you find solace?
Where do you go to restore your soul?
What are your sources of comfort and courage?
What keeps you going?

It is important to know these things,
and to consciously,
and regularly
avail yourself of their balms 
and salves,
their peace and consolation.

We aren't much without the sustaining retreats
to "the land of gentle breezes
where the peaceful waters flow"
(Anne Murray, Snowbird).

Know where to go when you need to,
and go there!

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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