April 21, 2021


The Old Mill of Guilford 02/17/2001 Oil Paint Rendered — Guilford County, North Carolina
We are living in crazy times--
uncertain times--
upside down times.

The landmarks are not to be trusted.
Nothing is.
What once applied
no longer applies.

It is all being made up as we go,
created on the run.
Why are we running?
What are we running to?
What are we running from?
Why run?

Sit down.
Sit tight.
Stand pat.
Be still.
Be quiet.
Take stock.

What is so with you?
What do you know to be so?
Pull that to you.
Surround yourself 
with what you know to be so.

What is missing?
What has been lost?
What do you long for?
What is to be grieved and mourned?
Invite that into your awareness.

Sit with it all,
just breathing,
just knowing,
just being present with
all that is present with you.

How things are is a product
of how things have been,
and an indication of how things will be
for longer than we want to be so.

In the midst of the upheaval,
floundering in "the heaving waves
of the wine-dark sea,"
we crave stability,

And all we have is what's now
and what's next.
And we are the only thing
holding those two things together.

We are what is now.
We are what is next.
What we do matters.
What we do makes all the difference.

Imagine two identical circles,
barely touching.
The two circles represent
the opposites/contraries/contradictions
at work in our life.

They can be past and future,
now and not-yet,
hope and hopelessness, 
good and evil--
whatever you envision to be the most pressing
opposition in your life here and now.

And you stand at their point of contact.

Call it the "sweet spot."
Call it the place of transformation.
Call it the doorway to the future.
Call it the place of crucifixion.
Call it the cross that is ours to bear.
Call it the work that is ours to do.

It is where we are asked to act
in integrating the opposites,
in merging the polarities,
in making the peace between two worlds.

We do that by being 
the balance and harmony
we seek. 

We do that by living out of our own center.
By standing on--
being anchored in-- 
the adamantine rock
of our own foundation.

By being who we are,
living out of our original nature,
out of our innate way of being
true to ourselves
in each situation as it arises.

We are what we seek!
We have what we need!
We are "the still point of the turning world"
"where the dance is"
(T.S. Eliot)!

And it is our place to dance with
what is happening
and with what needs to happen,
at the meeting place of
"the circles of confusion."

To do that, 
we have to seek our own center.
We have to know who we are.
We have to be true to our Original Nature,
to our innate virtues/gifts/character/daemon
(sounds like "diamond),
even here,
even now,
no matter what,
in each situation as it arises.

Our work is cut out for us.
And we are cut out for the work
that is ours to do--
that no one but us can do--
here and now.

May it be so,
always and forever!



Dogwood 05 2021 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, North Carolina
At what  point do we interfere in our life, 
to direct or oppose, 
and at what point do “go with the flow”? 

These things are judgement calls all the way.
By what authority do we do either? 
Who knows what to do when? 
And were does our “knowledge” come from? 

Certainly not from knowing what we are doing! 

We proceed, or interrupt, 
and deal with the fallout, 
with the outcome. 

How much of a mess can we make of things 
before we start cleaning up? 

Our life is an experiment with living. 
We try things out and see how they fit. 
See how it goes. 
Decide what to do next based on 
what we did last, 
or before last. 

We write the book 
of rules to live by 
as we go. 

We live our way to knowing what to do. 
We do not think our way there. 

And it helps to sit still, 
to stand pat, 
and listen, 
for “the mud to settle 
and the water to clear.” 

To know what we know 
and what we do not know, 
and wait to know what needs to be done. 

The silence holds all of the answers.



Field Road Oil Paint Rendered — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, South Carolina
Why do we see things the way we do?
How do we know what to do?
How do we decide what to do?
What guides our boat on its path through the sea?

The silence holds all the answers.

What is the source of these things?
What is their goal?
Toward what do we live?

The silence holds all the answers.

How do we gauge better and worse?
Good and bad?
Right and wrong?
In light of what do we live?

The silence holds all of the answers.

"It is all grist for the mill,"
goes the old saying.
What are we milling?

Who says so?
Who knows so?
What makes us think so?
On the basis of what?

The silence holds all of the answers.

What is our Original Nature?
Our innate disposition?
Our psychological "type"?

What are our gifts/preferences/
(sounds like "diamond")?

Start there.
Living to bring forth
who we are--
who we are capable of being--
within the terms and conditions,
context and circumstances,
of our life here and now.

Simply seeing.
Simply hearing.
Simply doing what needs to be done.
Moment by moment.

the silence holds all of the answers.


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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