June 01, 2021

01

A Path Through Wonder Oil Paint Rendered — Trail to Rough Ridge, Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
There is a price to be paid
for doing it--
and for doing it
the way we do it.
Whatever "it" is.

Democracy carries a price tag.
"Freedom isn't free,"
as the popular catch phrase goes,
though the people saying it
rarely apply it to themselves.

It applies to wearing masks
during pandemics
as much as it applies to
serving in the armed forces
during times of war and times of peace.

It means doing our part
to serve democracy to the best
of our ability
around the clock.

Democracy is 
Freedom/Liberty!
Justice!
Equality!
Truth!

Too many people think democracy
is making as much money as you can,
as fast as you can,
any way you can.

They make a big deal about
"Standing For The Flag,"
without standing for the things
The Flag stands for--
Freedom/Liberty!
Justice!
Equality!
Truth!

They want to be free
to do whatever they want,
when they feel like it,
for as long as they feel like it,
without being bound to anything
by being free.

Freedom isn't free.

Only those who are grown up,
and growing up,
have what it takes
to pay the price of freedom.

"We pay the price to ride the ride."

Tell some people that
and they don't want democracy any longer.
They want nothing to interfere
with their ability to live their life
the way they want to live it,
no strings attached.

No unwanted consequences!
No unwanted implications!
No unwanted anything!

They want the freedom to have what they want
without paying any price at all.

Freedom isn't free.

Tell them that for me, please.
They quit talking to me years ago.

–0–

02

Cedar Scene Oil Paint Rendered 05/02/2021 — Charlotte, North Carolina
Jesus had a plan.
So did John the Baptist.
It was the same plan.
It called for the reformation
of religion as it was being practiced,
and society as it was being done.

They were missing a plan
for the implementation
of their plan,
and had no way to negotiate
its adoption
by the controlling powers
of their day,
which "disappeared" them
the way authoritarian regimes
have "disappeared" opposition
throughout the ages.

And that was that.
Life went on the way
life always goes on,
tilted toward the rich and powerful,
and away from everyone else.

Integrity and good faith,
compassion, 
kindness,
justice, 
equality and truth
have such a hard time of it
in every generation.

You would think they would all give up
and throw in with 
greed and ruthlessness--
which somehow manage to
rule the day,
every day.

It is a strange world
in which people pay homage
to "Liberty and Justice for All,"
and live in ways which deny
liberty and justice to all
who aren't deserving
the way the favored ones
define "deserving."

And there has always been 
a voice crying out:
"In the wilderness of this world,
Prepare The Way Of The Lord
Of Liberty! Justice! Equality! Truth!"

The idea won't go away,
and its realization is always
as far away as ever.

What do you make of that?

How do we implement the plan
for "Liberty and Justice for All"
within the "Might Makes Right"
nature of the world as it is?

How do we get everyone on board
in doing the right thing
in the right way
at the right time
moment by moment
in each situation as it arises,
no matter what,
all our life long?

How do we even get ourselves 
to do it--
whether anyone else 
joins us or not?

–0–

03

Big Creek 11 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Waterville, North Carolina
What is your art?
Your specialty?
Your shtick?
Your joy?
Your life?

Seriously.
What do you do best?
What do you enjoy doing most?
What do you have to do right--
the way it needs to be done?

In what ways do you honor that?
Celebrate that?

In what ways do you exhibit
your liege loyalty
and filial piety and devotion
to it?

In what ways do you accord it
the central place in your life,
letting everything else
fall into place around it,
and serving it with your time 
and attention?

If you have assigned it 
to the shadows,
and are living your life
in ways that dismiss it,
discount it,
disregard it,
denigrate it,
ignore it,
you are paying a terrible price
for your neglect--
and it would be a really good move
for you to apologize, 
and give it the attention
and the place in your life
that it deserves.

Whether there is any money in it or not.

Money is not the highest value.

Your heart is the highest value.

If your heart isn't in what you are doing,
money can't buy what you are missing out on.

All you need is enough money
to do what you do best,
what you need to do most.

Wake up and get with the program
that you have rejected for too long.

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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