May 11, 2021


Transition Oil Paint Rendered — Kernersville, North Carolina
What do we make of it?
That's the question.
What does it mean?
For us?
To us?
What does life mean?
What does our life mean?
What do we mean?
To us?
For us?

What is meaningful
and what is not?

How meaningfully do we live?
How meaningful is our life?
How meaningful is what we do each day?

How do our answers to these questions
stand up in the silence?
Stand up in the presence of Truth?

How truthfully do we live?
How does our life conceal us
from the Truth 
of how it is with us--
of how it is with our life?

What questions do we never ask?
What things do we never say?

How truthfully do we live?



The Manor 05/20/2019 Oil Paint Rendered — Refuge Office, Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, Hollywood, South Carolina
I spend a good bit of my time
imagining worse-case scenarios
as my most likely future,
and have learned
to return to balance and harmony
by looking forward
to seeing how I respond to it
when I get there.

Waiting to see what I do
is my favorite thing.
And it has saved me a fortune
in alcohol purchases,
not to mention the prison sentences
for cocaine possession
I have avoided. 

Our future is highly unimaginable,
yet, we spend a lot of time
wandering among the ungodly
and absolutely horrendous 
as though it is a sure thing.

Save yourself unnecessary agony
by becoming curious
about how you will handle
the worst possible outcomes
when they inevitably come upon you.



Currituck Light House 09 10/25/2009 Oil Paint Rendered — Corolla, North Carolina
It is important
to be right
about what is important.

That is our sole responsibility.
That is our soul's responsibility.
And it is our responsibility
to listen to--and heed--our soul
in all matters,
great and small.

We are our soul's servant
in the work of knowing and doing
what is important
moment by moment
in each situation as it arises.

We are here to spend our life
in the service of what matters most
in each situation as it arises.

In order to do that,
we have to be attentive.
Tuned in.
Mindfully aware.
In all times and places.

No not-knowing what is going on.
No interfering with our ability
to know what is going on
by being lost in fantasy,
swamped by desire,
consumed with fear,
bound by duty
and awash in the 10,000 things.

Sit still.
Be quiet.
To know what needs to be done,
and how--
and do it.

That is all we have to do.

How is it going?



Goldenrod 04 Oil Paint Rendered 05/10/2021 — Lancaster County, South Carolina
Cultivating stillness
is as simple 
as being still
and quiet.

How hard is that?

The vantage point of stillness
allows us to see everything,
and seeing everything
is the key to knowing 
what to do about it,
here and now.

And that is all we need to know.
What to do now, here.

There is nothing difficult 
about any of this.

It's like Jesus said:
"It isn't across the ocean
that you have to start swimming
to get there,
and it isn't over the mountains
that you have to start climbing 
to get there,
and it isn't on the other side of the world
that you have to start walking
to get there.
It is right here,
right now,
as close as your next breath,
as near as your next thought.
All you have to do is be here, now,
sitting still,
being quiet"
(Or words to that effect).



Dogwood 01 04/16/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina
There is a mask-- 
as in persona, not Covid 19-- 
or two
for every moment
of every situation
in every day
all our life long.

And we have to alert and agile
and swift
to switch masks to match
our roles
as the circumstances require
throughout all of the days
of our lives.

We cannot be one way only.
We have to be who is called for
in each here and now 
that comes along.

The coach is not the mother/father,
is not the daughter/son,
is not the role we play
in any moment that is not a coaching moment.

And we have to be
who the moment needs us to be,
who the moment requires us to be.

We have to move with the wind 
that blows where it will,
as is needed,
through all of the situations
and circumstances 
of each day.

It is amazing how our life
balances and harmonizes
and self-regulates
as we become adept
at changing roles
in ways appropriate
to the occasion,
and everything falls into place
around that. 

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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