May 22, 2021

01

Family Outing 05/28/2013 Oil Paint Rendered — The Bog Garden, Greensboro, North Carolina
There are no shortcuts on the spiritual journey.
Growing up is hard to do.
And that's all it comes down to.
Growing up.

Coming to terms with the way things are.
Making our peace with not having our way.
Doing what needs to be done.
When it needs to be done.
Where it needs to be done.
How it needs to be done.
Every time it needs to be done.
Moment by moment.
Forever.

You think that's easy?
Could ever be easy?
You want it to be easy?
You don't have what it takes.
Go back to your soft fantasies
and the consolations
of your comforting illusions.

Growing up asks hard things of us all the way.

Jesus handing us heavenly bliss
for the low, low price
of believing he will
if we believe he will,
smoothly skirts the bit about
bearing our cross daily,
dying again and again
on the hill of doing what needs to be done
whether we want to or not
all our life long.

The Sisyphean task is the true way 
to the land of promise,
to the farther shore,
to nirvana
and happy at last.

It is called paying the price
to ride the ride,
and is not what we want to hear.

"No pain! No Pain!"
"Smooth and Easy! Smooth Easy!"
"Soft and warm! Soft and warm!"
Is more like our brand.

We have our standards,
and our way is the only way
to the land of lemonade brooks,
lollypop trees,
and big rock candy mountain--
where shortcuts abound,
and pleasant is all around,
and nothing drowns the sound
of good times coming down
on big rock candy mountain.

–0–

02

Bluff Lake Swamp 07 Oil Paint Rendered — Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Starkville, Mississippi
We live from one situation to another.
How we live in this situation
sets up the next situation,
so that we are the common link
among all of the situations
that comprise our life.

We set the tone,
compose the theme,
shape the contour,
form the pattern
that becomes the life we live,
one situation at a time.

How we perform here
is a reflection 
of how we performed there,
and a precursor 
of how we will perform
in all the situations
that flow from this one.

We would do well to be aware
of what we are doing
and how we are doing it,
evaluating that in light 
of how we want to be known,
remembered, thought of--
of what we want our body of work
to say about us,
now and forever.

Are we proud to be who we are?
Is this the best we can do?
We make the adjustments commensurate
with our ideal of who and how
we want to be
one situation at a time.

Is this how we want to do it?
Is this the way we want to be?
Does this represent the us
we are glad to exhibit and express?
If not, then what do we need to do
to be more like we want to be
than we are
in the next situation that comes along?

–0–

03

Gatoring 05/14/2021 — Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Starkville, Mississippi
Growing up is the solution
to all of our problems today.
And every day.

This is the way things are,
and this is what we can do about it,
and that's that.

Letting that be that
is the key to everything that follows.
The ease with which we go about doing that
in each situation as it arises
tells the tale.

And that is all that needs to be said
about what needs to be done
in getting us together with our life.

Letting things be what they are
means letting our decisions/choices 
be what they are,
and letting our outcomes be what they are,
and doing what can be done
with all that comes our way,
and letting that be that.

–0–

04

Park Bench 11/22/2007 Oil Paint Rendered — Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, Greensboro, North Carolina
It's all mind.
There is no ego that is not mind.
There is no awareness/illumination
that is not mind.

When you take into account
that the observer cannot be separated 
from the observed
(Or the observed from the observer),
there is no external reality 
that is not also mind.

Mind is all,
connecting all,
making all things one.
There is no duality
that is not mind.
Mind is one.

"So What?" you say?
So stop acting as though
you are separate from
all other people and things.
As though there is an I and a Thou,
a We and a Them!

Start acting as though Thou Art That,
and That, and That, and That...

Sit down and be quiet with all of this.
Let it sink in.
Let it marinate.
Let it ferment.
Let it mature.
Let it bring a shift in perspective,
and make all things new.

Do that.
And see what happens then.

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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