June 12, 2021

01

Beech Woods 10/22/2006 01 Oil Paint Rendered — Guilford College Woods, Greensboro, North Carolina
Friedrich Nietzsche said that mature people
are "a wheel rolling out of its own center."

I prefer the image of a gyroscope turning
out of its own center,
maintaining its balance and harmony
through chaos,
tsunami,
hurricane,
earthquake,
devastation
and the complete loss of everything.

The person who is mature in this respect
has returned to their childhood,
and is operating out of the complete innocence
and purity
of those in the first few years of life.

Asking the questions that beg to be asked.
Saying the things that cry out to be said.
Doing the things that call to be done.
Without calculating the odds,
considering their chances,
pondering their prospects,
or positioning themselves
to take advantage 
of their situation 
for gain and profit
and avoid grief, loss and sorrow.

Young children are innocent of all 
ulterior motives.

They do not scheme,
connive,
plot,
conspire,
contrive,
orchestrate,
concoct and devise
in order to enhance
their position
and way of being in the world.

They simply are themselves
in relation to their circumstances
and other people,
living innocently and spontaneously
without regard for any of 
the shoulds/oughts/musts/and must nots
that complicate and clutter
the lives of those who know how the world works
and how to work a room
to get what they want
and have their way
no matter what.

Joseph Campbell said that the way back
to the innocent world of the uninitiated child
is "by killing the dragon called Thou Shalt,"
and refusing to live by the rules governing
life in the world--
living instead out of the Mystery,
the mysterious source
of what needs to happen
when and where,
in integrating the opposites,
the contraries,
the contradictions
and polarities
at play in ourselves,
our environment,
our circumstances,
and bringing us forth
to meet what stands before us
with the best we have to offer
in the time and place,
the here and now,
of our living.

This is where it gets interesting.

There is prudent 
and there is imprudent,
wise and aware,
and impulsive and foolhardy.


Who/what do we listen to
in determining when to do what?
What guides our boat
on its path through the sea?
Through the heaving waves
of the wine dark sea?

This is the adventure of life
unfolding in the events
and context
of the day-to-day.

What to do when 
is our call to make.
And the call we make
makes all the difference.

What is it time for
right here, right now?
It is always up to us,
with everything on the line,
and only our original nature,
sincerity
and spontaneity
to work with.

Get out of the way,
and see what happens!
 

–0–

02

Cades Cove Methodist Church 01 02/28/2014 Oil Paint Rendered, Black and White — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Townsend, Tennessee
It is one thing to meet the day
on the day's terms,
and another thing to depict to the day
what our terms are.

It is ridiculous to have terms.
Adam and Eve had terms.
You see how that worked out.

We negotiate our way through everyday,
intending no more 
than to respond faithfully and well
to what is called for
in each situation as it arises.

That is agenda enough.

Doing that while paying the bills
is a matter of doing that
while paying the bills.
There is no conflict
between doing what is called for
and paying the bills.

Sincerity and spontaneity 
carry the day,
every day.

Read the situation
and allow sincerity and spontaneity
lead the way.

We could have worse guides,
e.g., unbridled ambition
and ruthless greed.

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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