April 25, 2021


Sundown Mirror 10/28/2006 Oil Paint Rendered — Pamlico Sound, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
We have our will and our way
which we seek to impose upon our life.
And that is the source 
of all our problems.

No will,
no way,
no impositions,
no problems.

Want to die young and happy?
Discard your will, your way
and your propensity to impose
anything upon everything.

Dying old and reasonably content
requires a different approach.

Have only preferences,
and find ways of serving them
without imposing your will and your way
upon all that is in your way.

This is the art of living.
Caring just enough
about the right things.
Knowing when to say yes
and when to say no. 
Letting your yes be yes
and your no be no.
Drawing lines.
Walking away.
Standing pat.
Sitting tight.
Waiting for the door to open
and then walking through.
Seeing what you look at.
Hearing what you listen to.
Knowing what's what
and what needs to be done about it.
Doing what you can do
in the service of what needs to be done
with the resources available to you,
and letting that be that.
Guided by your preferences
and your original nature
through all your decisions and choices.
Walking two paths at the same time
with one eye on each path at all times.
Without judgment or opinion.
With compassion and kindness.
Moment to moment,
situation by situation,
day by day.
Your whole life long.
Like a stream
on its way to the sea.



Fall Orchard 11/13/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Springs Farm, Fort Mill, South Carolina
Our ideas spring from the silence
or from the noise.

Where are we most comfortable--
with the silence
or with the noise?

The silence requires us
to take our contradictions
into account.

The noise glosses over contradictions,
and complexity
in seeking better now no matter what.

Living well requires us to work with our
and complexity
in balancing,
and stabilizing
ourselves in relation to our life
before increasing the volume and degree
of the Big Four.

That work requires silence.

We have to work silence into every day.

Sitting still,
being quiet,
taking stock,
doing inventory,
seeing what is happening,
what is being called for
and what needs to be done in response,
day by day.

I call this
"Prayerfully considering our life
and our place in it"
at some point in each day.

I understand prayer to be the reverent
openness to what's what
and what needs to be done about it.
It is contemplation,
in the search for new realizations.

We are praying when we stand still
and listen.
Not when we talk without hearing
what we are saying.

Prayer is where we explore 
our relationship with our life,
with all aspects of our life,
with what our life needs from us,
is asking of us,
and how we need to change
to be who and what our life needs us to be.

We always want our life to change 
in relation to us.
We never want to change 
in relation to our life.
And that is the kink in the hose.



Cardinal 04/22/2013 Oil Paint Rendered — The Bog Garden, Greensboro, North Carolina
Our place is to explore and express
our original nature
in finding our life and living it.

Not to exploit our gifts/interests/
(sounds like "diaMON")/virtues/
that came with us from the womb
in the service of our ideas of 
success, gain and glory.

Having our way
and getting what we want
still get us kicked out of the Garden of Eden.

The way back to the Land of Promise
is the way of filial devotion
and liege loyalty 
to the work of exploring and expressing
our original nature
in finding the life that is ours to live
and living it.

Included in this work
is seeing what's what
and what needs to be done about it
in doing the right thing
in the right way
at the right time
moment by moment
in each situation as it arises
with the gifts, etc. 
of our original nature.

This is well within the reach
of every human being,
and it far exceeds our grasp,
as everyone who knows
has known.

Knowing what to do and doing it
remain the task of every life
throughout the time we have for living.

Contemplation and awareness, Kid.
Contemplation and awareness.

Courage and determination, Kid.
Courage and determination.



Azalea 01 Oil Paint Rendered — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina
We put WAAAYYY!!! too much emphasis
on what we want and don't want,
and having our way.

We cannot have our way and grow up.
Growing up is bearing well 
the pain of not having our way,
of not getting what we want.
We grow up against our will.
It has been that way throughout time.

Theology is always at least two ages
behind the truth. 
Evolution for example.
Global warming for another example.
The equality of women for another example.
LGBTQEtc rights for another example...

These things have been true forever.
The Catholic Church
and 10,000 Protestant churches
haven't caught up.
They don't want it to be true.
Therefore they say it is not true.
Yet, it is true.

We grow up against our will every time.

We have to lighten up on what we want
and don't want.
We have to stop judging things we want 
or don't want as good or bad
based on whether we want them or not.
No judging!
No opinions!
Try that for six months or so.

Work in into your life.
Back off on the wanting and not wanting.

Practice growing up against your will.
Start doing things you don't want to do
as though you want to do them.
Stop doing things you need to not want to do
(Drinking, Smoking, Eating Hot Dogs)
as though you don't want to do them.

It will transform your life.
Give you a new perspective.
People will comment on how good you look,
and ask you if you have been working out.

No kidding.
Trust me in this.

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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