July 19, 2021


Price Lake 06/10/2018 Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina
My wife and I have an attentive,
respectful relationship
with everything in our house.

We treat it all with reverence,
awareness, appreciation and gratitude--
not for the thing in question,
but TO the thing.

We do not take anything for granted,
or mistreat anything.

We honor it for what it is
and for its place in our life.

Nothing we own
could be owned by anyone
who would take better care of it
than we do.

We are not this way because
we think we ought to be this way, 
but because this is the way we are.

It carries over into the way we treat
our family,
our nuclear family
and our extended family.

But we draw the line there,
and do not invite other people
into our life.

We are not gregarious, chummy,
and outgoing--
and do not trust ourselves easily
to others.
Which is as much a reflection
of where we have been
as it is of who we were before
we got there.

Our life is complete enough as it is,
and we do not need the company of others
to make it more-so.
Too much of their company
makes it less-so.

Getting older is refining our sense
of what is important,
and narrowing us down
to the things that matter most to us.
We are increasingly clear
about how we need to spend
what remains of our time,
devoting ourselves
to the things we cherish,
and allowing the rest 
to recede into the background
and periphery of our lives.



Congaree 05 11/07/2016 Oil Paint Rendered — Congree National Park, Columbia, South Carolina
Being still,
being quiet,
listening for what is predominant
at various points in our day,
taking regular readings of our 
balance and harmony,
spirit, energy and vitality,
keeps us alert to what's what
and what needs to be done about it
in each situation as it arises,
in a "Here we are, now what?"
kind of way.

We could do worse,
and it would be hard to do better,
day by day.

It is simple.
It is easy.
It is essential.

Here we are.
Now what?



Country Sunrise 12/13/2016 Oil Paint Rendered — Lancaster County, South Carolina
How would you transform someone
who is rule-bound and approval-driven
into being flexible, spontaneous, fluid
and unflappable?

The best I can come up with is
"Slowly, over a long period of time."

Our tolerance for change is restricted to

Anything that happens that quickly 
is subject to snapping back into
its original configuration
just as quickly.

It takes time and attention/awareness
for things to become 
as they need to be--
and that may have no connection
with what we want them to be.

For things to change,
we have to be able to change as well,
and allow them to become
what they are capable of being,
which may be quite other than 
how we wish they would be.

Water's rush to the sea
is impeded by 10,000 things.
cloud formation
and wind currents
may be a quicker way
to make the journey,
but look what happens to water
in the process!

Getting it like we want it,
when we want it,
the way we want it,
may not be "in the cards,"
and we will have to play
a different game
with different cards--
or no cards at all.



Cypress Gardens Panorama 11/15/2013 Oil Paint Rendered — Monks Corner, South Carolina
are a Trident, 
transforming the world,
reshaping reality,
and levering us
from one mode of being
into another
just by seeing what's what
and what needs to be done about it,
and doing it
when it needs to be done,
the way it needs to be done,
because it needs to be done,
in each situation as it arises,
day by day.

Seeing things as they are
includes seeing things as they affect us,
which provides a modicum of objectivity
for the time being,
and is the way attending physicians
and emergency room personnel 
see what comes through the door
and responds appropriately
to what is being called for
with the gifts/shtick/daemon/specialties
that are theirs to serve and share
from moment to moment
in doing what needs to be done,
the way it needs to be done,
when it needs to be done
in addressing the situation
and assisting it to the best available outcome.

transport us to a frame of mind
that enables right action
as a sincere, spontaneous, instantaneous
response to the here and now,
flowing from instinct/intuition/imagination
and being exactly what is needed
at exactly the right time
presented in exactly the right way
to stun and amaze witnesses 
and participants alike,
and then it is done,
and everything shifts back into place,
returns to normal,
and we wonder what happened,
and how it happened,
leaving us with the memory of its passing,
and the dream of its longed-for return.

Every moment of every day
carries the potential
of this kind of interaction with our life,
our world,
if only we are aware, perceptive and present
in each situation as it arises
all our life 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.

One thought on “July 19, 2021

  1. Jim. This is so profound, simple & moving… George and I are about the same. Taking care of and appreciating the few important things add value and meaning to all of ot. Cheers! And thanks for sharing✅

    Liked by 1 person

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