April 13, 2021


Swanquarter Mooring 01 OP — Hyde County, North Carolina
Genghis Khan lamented 
that conquering and governing
were two different ways of life,
and mutually exclusive.
Conquers cannot govern.

It is the difference between 
ruthlessness and kindness.

The Genesis command
to "fill the earth and subdue it"
is not a call to be
stewards of the earth
but a directive to conquer the earth
as though it were booty 
and not home.

Laying waste to life
is no way to honor and revere life.
The desert nomads 
had no experience with 
tenderness and mercy.
They could win the victory,
but then what?

The Tao te Ching speaks to
the futility of war,
saying, in essence,
"To win the war is to lose the point."

The point is living together
in ways that benefit everyone
by taking everything into account.
"Do your work and step back,
letting nature take its course."

Our work has to be done in the right way,
at the right time,
and serve the true good of all concerned.

No contrivance.
No exploitation.
No seeking personal advantage,

Subduing and conquering miss the point.

And subduing and conquering 
are all we know.

Police subdue and conquer.
And everybody suffers
from their refusal
to govern with compassion and grace.

We need stewards of life and property.
Not bullies with guns and choke holds.

Too many in law enforcement
have agendas at odds with
their mission of peacekeepers. 
Being peaceful themselves
is the first step.

Force is to be the last resort,
not the first impulse.

Help me pass the word.



Big Bay Creek Panorama 01 Oil Paint Rendered — Edisto Island, South Carolina
We have to be ready for anything.

We can have our plans and agendas,
but life is always 
coming along to carry us away
to a place quite different
from anything we had in mind--
or would ever imagine--

Our place is to be carried along.
That's how we got here.
It is how we will get 
to wherever we are going.

We may think we are achieving,
but all the while,
we are being carried along
by forces we cannot comprehend
through times and places 
we cannot make sense of
to where we do not know.

There is no destination.
"There is only the dance"
(T. S. Eliot).
Which makes this moment
the only moment,
the most precious moment.

Now matters most.
How do we do now?
That is the question 
from here on out.
How do we do this,
right now?

How we do this, now,
leads to all that follows.
Doing this well--
the way it needs to be done--
has implications 
for the rest of our life.

We hold eternity in the palm of our hand.

There is no destination.
There is only here, now.
What's next is only an extension,
no matter how different it is,
it is just another here, now.

We practice doing that well
by doing this well.
Here, now.



New River Gorge National Park Oil Paint Rendered — Glen Jean, West Virginia
Look around.

We would prefer for a lot of things
to be something other than they are,
but we have no reason to expect anything
to be different than it is.

Flip a coin.
It's going to come up heads or tails.
Why go off on it being one and not the other?

If things were different than they are
how much of that do you think 
we would want to be different still?

It doesn't matter how things are,
we have to work with them however they are.
Our work is the same no matter what.

We look around, see what needs to be done,
and do it as best we can
with the gifts, genius, daemon (sounds like "diamond")
knacks, virtues, interests and qualities
that came with us from the womb.

We bring our Original Nature to bear upon
our circumstances in each situation as it arises.
And that's that.

It doesn't matter what our circumstances are
Our Original Nature remains the same,
and our work in integrating our Nature
with our circumstances remains the same.

Our place is to see how things are and get to work.
Heads or tails.
It's all the same to us.
Why get bent out of shape by it?
Just get to work!
Doing what needs to be done,
how it needs to be done,
when and where it needs to be done,
in each situation as it arises,
all day,
every day.

This is our Sisyphean Task
throughout our life.
How we approach it makes all the difference! 

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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