June 05, 2021


Koi Pond 01 06/04/2021 Oil Paint Rendered
We have to be able
to take a joke in this world,
because the joke is on us.

We think it is this way,
and it's that way.
We think we get it,
and think it's that way,
and it's this way.

Thinking that we get it
is the joke
that is on us.

We have to be able to say,
"Okay. Good one. Got me."
And go on with our life,
knowing that life is just a set up
for the next punch line.

The trick is to keep showing up
without taking it seriously.
Taking it seriously
is asking for it.

So, we have to show up
as though it matters,
knowing that it doesn't matter,
but doing everything as though it does.

That is embracing the joke
and laughing along with everyone else
who is in on the game,
playing the game
as the game needs to be played
because it is the only game there is,
and to not play it
is to be dead--
either literally,
or equivalently. 

So we play knowing that we are playing
the game of life,
giving ourselves to all of it
just as we need to,
without being undone by any of it,
playing at playing our part
as though it matters--
because that's what the game requires--
but without being bludgeoned by any of it
because it is only a game,
and no one's keeping score.

All that matters is 
how well we play our part.



Sumac 03 Oil Paint Rendered — 22-acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
Being right about what needs to be done
and doing it
in each situation that arises
is a matter of paying attention--
without judgment or opinion--
in responding to what is called for,
moment by moment,
with sincerity and non-contrivance,
and without motive beyond being available
in service to the here and now,
using the tools/gifts/specialties/virtues/
that come with us from the womb
as a part of our original nature
for the good of one another
and the species as a whole.

This is the organizing principle,
the ground,
still point,
axis mundi,
and North Star
uniting human beings
throughout time and place
in the work of being human.

To drift away from this
is to wander in the wasteland
searching for deliverance
and salvation
without hope,
or direction,
"like a man
sitting on his donkey
looking for his donkey,"
or a woman
holding her car keys,
looking for her car keys.

When all it ever takes
is being right about 
what needs to be done
and doing it,
without judgment,
or motive,
situation by situation,
through time and place.

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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