June 06, 2021

01

Day Lily 02 06/05/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — Indian Land, South Csolina
We pick up,
put down,
pass on 
(in the sense of 
"I'll pass on that,"
and not in the sense of
what we leave behind),
pass by.

I pass on a lot of things,
and pass by unseeing too many things,
and I've put down most of the things
I've picked up.

But I'm still
picking up,
putting down,
passing on 
and passing by.

It's the template for life.
And it is a true reflection
of what matters most to us--
and that says who we are
better than words could do it.

A quick inventory 
of the things 
you have picked up,
put down,
passed on
and passed by,
that is a snapshot
of what you are leaving behind.

Our legacy is what we 
picked up,
put down,
passed on
and passed by.

We can fool ourselves 
in a lot of ways,
but that list is the truth
that cannot be denied.

We are what we pick up,
put down,
pass on
and pass by.

–0–

02

Nursery Photos 01v06/04/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — Pike Nursery, Charlotte, North Carolina
It’s best, I think, to make no global evaluations, 
either of ourselves, personally, 
or of the world/life in general.

No assessments allowed! 
Should be a rule.

It will only depress you.

The best we could do as a species 
is easily dismissed 
by the worst we could do.

I’m ashamed to be a part of something 
that can’t do any better 
than we have done over 
the 10 million years, 
or so of our existence.

Jesus and the Buddha spend eternity throwing up.

So, we focus on the things that ground us, 
restore us, 
enliven us--
and ignore 
to the best of our ability, 
all the things that would send us 
running to the wailing wall.

Despair is real 
and a valid response 
to the truth of 
what we have done 
and are doing—
to the truth of what our choices are.

Where do we have good-enough choices?

We get to choose from among unchooseable choices! 

So we take it one day at a time, 
and try not to think about 
the things we aren’t thinking about 
when we distract ourselves  
with art/music, 
beauty
and nature 
(the natural world itself is as vicious 
as we are if we look closer and see everything).

Refusing to let it get us down, 
or even slow us down, 
in pursuing the good as we perceive it,
and are able to embrace and to do, 
is the best I’ve come up with.

We live “anyway, nevertheless, even so,” 
as though what we do matters,
the way actors who are true to their art
play their part
in movies that don't have a script,
or a director,
capable of Oscar consideration.

We play our roles as they need to be played, 
as they must be played, 
doing what needs to be done 
with the gifts we have to offer, 
as best we can, 
and let that be that, 
given the nature of our circumstances, 
and the quality of our prospects, 
saying, “If somebody can do it better, 
I hope they do! 
But this is the best I’m capable of doing,” 
and being right about it.

So press on! Press on! 
We are all Sisyphus 
rolling his rock through eternity. 
Our attitude about what we are doing 
is the main thing we do,
and is truly precious about us--
where the radiance and wonder shine through.

Roll on! Roll on! 
It’s what we do!

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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