August 03-B, 2021

01

Afternoon Trestle Oil Paint Rendered — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, South Carolina
Each situation gives rise 
to the next situation,
which makes each situation
the key to all that follows.

Doing this situation the way 
it needs to be done
provides the situation flowing
from this one
with a proper footing
to be what it needs to be
for the next one,
and so on to the end of the line.

What we are doing,
situation by situation,
is passing on what has been
handed to us
and giving it the best send-off
we can furnish.

How we respond,
here and now,
to what is happening
and what needs to be done about it
sets the tone
for what follows.

There are no throw-away moments!
We have to treat each one
as though it is our last one,
and "go out with a bang"!

We have to "show our stuff"
whenever the camera is rolling,
and the camera is always rolling.
How we live matters!

In every moment
of every situation.

Doing this scene right,
scene by scene,
makes the movie really special.

"The Princess Bride" comes to mind.
Or, "Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou?"
Or, "The African Queen"...
Or, the story of your life,
and mine.

–0–

02

Indian Land Sunrise BW 05//07/2016 Oil Paint Rendered — Lancaster County, South Carolina
It is my work to say 
what I have to say,
and let it go.

Lao Tzu is credited with saying,
"More words count less...
Better to stop short
than to fill to the brim...
Retire when the work is done...
Know when to stop and step back...
Let nature take its course...
This is the way of heaven..."

Offer what you have to give,
and let that be that.

"Some kind of help
is the kind of help
that help is all about.
And some kind of help
is the kind of help
we all could do without"
(Shel Silverstein).

"Take what you need
and leave the rest behind"
(AA Slogan).

–0–

03

Blue Ridge Fall 08 10/14/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, Julian Price Memorial Park, Blowing Rock, North Carolina
I miss Robin Williams,
and George Carlin,
and Princess Diana,
and Maya Angelou...

The list is long
of people who had perspectives
and personalities
that graced and blessed
everyone capable of being graced and blessed
all their life long.

These are the people 
who passed it along,
with "it" being the soul of life,
the heart of living,
the wonder and joy of being alive.

Living can take the life right out of us.
What do we turn to when we have nowhere to turn?
That is Joseph Campbell's line,
someone else I miss.

Heart is the hardest thing to find,
and the easiest thing to lose.

What keeps us going?
It cannot be artificial.
It has to be the real thing.
That is what the people who have "it"
pass along to the rest of us--
not what they have,
but what we have
that we don't know we have.
That's what they do for us.
They show us who we are capable of being.

What we see and admire in them
lies latent in us,
stirring to life in their presence,
hoping we will be like them
in becoming who we are,
singing our own song,
as they sang theirs.

They show us what can be done
if we but trust ourselves
to bring forth what is ours 
to share and to serve
in the time left for living.

That would be our perspective
and our personality.
Our unique way of seeing and doing,
of being and becoming,
of exhibiting and expressing,
who we are
and how we love what we love
in doing what is ours to do.

We have to take what they give us--
what they represent to us--
and live as those who would 
find in ourselves
what is our truest treasure
and offer it freely
to all who come our way.

We are all capable of being
lights shining in the darkness.
We all have the gifts 
that are ours to give,
waiting to come forth
as blessing and grace
upon those who are dying
for what we have to offer.

It becomes so
when we live as though it is so.
Believing is doing.
Life is waiting to be lived
in the time left for living.

We are burning daylight,
waiting on a savior,
when we are what we are looking for,
and always have been.

What do we turn to when we have nowhere to turn?
What has heart for us?
Where do we come to life?
Where is our joy and satisfaction to be found?

We have to live from there
in bringing forth what we have to give,
and finding, in so doing,
all that we need
to do what needs to be done
in each situation as it arises.
World without end.
Amen.

–0–

04

Blue Ridge Fall 10/17/2016 Oil Paint Rendered — The Viaduct is hiding in the center of the photo, Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
The old Chinese Taoists
knew 3,000 years before Jesus was born
that the drift of our life
is to be trusted above all else,
and assisted by our awareness,
support, participation, trust,
loyalty and devotion
by doing what is ours to do
in the service of what needs to be done,
and letting that be that--
with no contrivance,
no manipulation,
no exploitation,
no pushing, forcing, scheming, striving
to make things happen out of time and place.

Just listening, 
just looking,
just seeing,
just hearing,
just knowing,
just doing what is called for
in the time and place of our living.

"Eat when hungry,
rest when tired,"
"chop wood,
carry water,"
respond to the moment
the way the moment needs 
to be responded to,
and stay out of the way.

5,000 years have not improved
on this fundamental orientation.

–0–

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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