April 26,2021


The Laughing Buddha 05/16/2019 Oil Paint Rendered — Charlotte, North Carolina
We get out of bed
and step into the day
each day
and the day takes over
from there,
delivering us back to bed
when the day is finished with us.

Our days have a mind of their own.

Our life is the same way.

We refer to it as "our life,"
but we belong to our life
much more 
than our life belongs to us.

We do not know what is coming,
or how we will respond,
or what will happen after that.

You might think,
given what we have been through
up to now,
that we would be a bit more humble
than we are,
and thoughtful,
and hesitant to rush about
in the service of our wants and wishes 
and ideas about how things should be.

Give me one example about how you think 
things should be
that actually are as you think they should be.
One thing that you have crafted 
to perfectly match up with your original idea
of how it should be.

Do you think Michelangelo wouldn't like to 
redo some aspects of the Sistine Chapel?  
Or, perhaps the entire work?

Yet we go on wanting and willing
as though we have ever achieved anything
that was/is the way we wanted and willed it to be--
confident, I suppose, that this time
we will get it right.

We are running from the truth that we are wasting our time
trying to make something of our time
and not waste any of it.

Sit down.
Be quiet.
Listen to the silence.
Wait for the shift to happen,
and for something to emerge,
come forth
that you did not expect,
to call you,
and claim you,
and make you its own.



Garden Creek Baptist Church 06/01/2011 — Stone Mountain State Park, North Carolina
The right thing to do 
in any situation
is likely to be the thing 
that occurs to you 
"out of the blue,"
and not the thing
you are trying to impose
upon the situation
out of some agenda,
plan or desire
you have in mind 
for the situation.

Take three slow, deep, breaths
and listen
for what is trying 
to get your attention.
Consider going with that instead.

Allow yourself
to surprise yourself.

And dance with yourself
through all of the moments
left to live.



Catawba Rhododendron 06/12/2006 Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina
Truth changes its appearance to fit the occasion,
to adapt to the time and place of its appearing. 

It appears differently to different people,
and to the same person at different points
in their life--
just as we are the same person we always have been,
and nothing at all like we were when we got married.
We are changing all the time,
and are quite recognizable over time.
Would the real,
genuine us please step forward!
We all step forward.
None of us is left behind.

Our original nature
is shaped by the time and place
of our living
to become what it needs to be
to survive and adapt
and meet the needs of the moment,
and its own needs within the moment.

We all are "like the wind that blows
where it will,"
not knowing where we will go next,
with everything depending upon 
what happens here and now,
and what is necessary there and then.

I can't count the number of horses it took
to get me where I am,
but I'm here, now,
on my way to there, then,
amazed and lost in wonder
at the entire idea,
adrift on the sea
of complexity and contradiction,
beauty and truth--
a dance with life and being
to the music of the spheres,
and we are all a part of the movement
and the harmony,
the weave of the waves.

What's to be made of it,
who can tell?

Listening is enough,
and following the call
of what is called for
in each moment
of every situation as it rises
for as long as life shall last.



Chaplain’s Lake Sunset 08/18/2011 Oil Paint Rendered — Northwestern State University, Natchitoches, Louisiana
There are those who see
and those who do not see.

Those who do not see
do not see
that they do not see.

I was talking with a southern farmer
in his field about race relations.
During the course of the conversation,
he said, "Hell, Jim!
This isn't the way I SEE things!
This is the way things ARE!"

FM and AM cannot communicate.

Those who see cannot talk 
to those who do not see.

No one has ever been talked into seeing.
No one knows why they see the way they see.
People who see some things
do not see other things.

No one sees everything.

Seeing is an art that can be developed
by those who are far enough advanced
to see their seeing--
and their not seeing.

I do not see numbers.
Filing my taxes is done in the dark.
I do not follow recipes.
I get the idea and freewheel it from there.
Step by step organization,
"a place for everything and everything in its place,"
is my worst nightmare. 
I "file by stacks."
And get by just fine,
but cannot see the value of that other world,
and am not sure it exists 
(the value, not the world).

Seeing is not absolute and universal.
Neither is not seeing.
In areas of mutual interest
it helps if seers and not-seers
can agree about the importance
of the things they disagree about
and how they might resolve their differences
by "agreeing to disagree,"
and allowing people to manage their own private lives
to their own personal satisfaction
without the intrusive incursion of "nosy neighbors"
into matters that do not pertain to them.

The idea of religious freedom meshes well with this.
Your religion applies to you,
and my religion applies to me.
You have no right to impose your religious views on me,
and I have no right to impose my religious views on you.
And everyone has a right to their own life.
If your religion believes in slavery and human trafficking,
your have a problem with constitutional democracy and civil law,
not with me.

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.

2 thoughts on “April 26,2021

  1. Yep, Jim, you & Ray Harp have so very much in common philosophically 🙂 More will be revealed as we trudge the road of happy destiny! Have a good day, whatever it may bring ✅✌💕

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    Liked by 1 person

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