August 08, 2021


Scott Creek Panorama 03 01/29/2015 Oil Paint Rendered–Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Island, South Carolina
Money is for buying the tools
and the wherewithal 
(Food, clothing, shelter, etc.)
required to do what is ours to do.

To do what we are here to do.
To do what we are uniquely suited to do.
To do what no one else can do
the way we can do it.

To find and do what is ours to do
the way the Pirate's life
was Captain Jack Sparrow's to do.

What is "it" for us in that way?
What is it that we have
no say in the matter about?

We are here to find and do it.

One way to think about 
what we are looking for
is "the creative fire."

What brings us to life in a way
that we are all together there,
participating in the act 
of bringing something new
into the world?

Something that wasn't there,
and wouldn't be there,
if it were not for us?

Could be an apple pie.
Or a pineapple sandwich.
Or the best curve ball in the business.

Only you know what your shtick is.
What your specialty is.
What brings you forth
and declares you to be fully present
and accounted for.

What are you doing when you are fully present
and accounted for?
How often do you do it?
For how long at a time?

Of course, there is a catch.
It asks hard things of us.
We may not be able to support
ourselves or our family by doing it.

It may "fill our hearts brimful,
and break them too"
(William Alexander Percy).

Carl Jung said,  
“There are hardly any exceptions 
to the rule that a person 
must pay dearly 
for the divine gift 
of the creative fire.”

At the bottom is the question,
do we have what it takes to say
"Thy will not mine be done,"
to/about the thing that is our thing to do,
and mean it?

Or, as I was want to ask
in a warm bed long before dawn,
with a sunrise in the mountains,
or cypress trees in the pond,
two hours away,
and maybe, just maybe
(Because who knows what the weather,
the sky, the lighting will be?)
offer a scene worthy of photographing,
"Am I a photographer or not?"



Cade’s Cove Methodist Church 02/28/2014 BW Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Townsend, Tennessee
My sister, Diane, died a week ago today.
She was 72 years old,
with no symptoms to speak of.

She waked into the bathroom
to take a shower,
and died before turning on the water.

No one is promised tomorrow,
or even the rest of today.

If you are going to do it,
do it now--
or, at least have a go at it.

Of course, the timing has to be right.
We are left between
not forcing anything,
and not letting anything pass us by.

Be aware of the tension,
and bear it with your eyes open,
waiting for the time to be at hand.

I would like to photograph a steam locomotive,
in full, smoking, glory--
and a rodeo,
but access is a problem,
and I'm bidding my time.
And may run out of time.
I'll have to wait to see.

I know what I am waiting for,
and won't let a proper occasion pass
untended or un-attempted--
if it is deserving,
and only I can determine that,
in the situation as it arises. 



Carter Shields Cabin 01 B&W 02/28/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Townsend, Tennessee
If you think you have never learned anything
from listening to what you have to say,
why listen to yourself say that?

Why expect anyone to listen to you?

Why say anything ever?

All psychotherapy is based
on hearing what you are saying,
on hearing what your inner self is saying,
on listening to what your dreams are saying.

The root word of "educate" means to "lead out."

If we have never been listened to/heard
to the point of bringing forth
what is to be found within,
we might try sitting quietly
and watching for what arises/emerges/occurs
unbidden within,
and following where it leads.

This the ground of all art, science, 
poetry, song-writing and technology.
Invention and creativity come from people
listening to their instinct, intuition, imagination--
not from someone telling them what to do.

The idea that we are too stupid 
to know what's what originates
with people who have to be raised up
at someone else's expense.

Babies from the womb know what to do
with a nipple.
They don't have to be schooled on that.

Start with what you have to say about anything.
Ask all of the questions that beg to be asked
regarding that statement.
Answer them honestly as best you can,
and ask all of the questions that beg to be asked
of all your answers--
and of all the questions generated by your answers.
I expect you will be astounded
at the realizations
this exercise produces.

Then, make another statement
and give it the same treatment.

You are an amazing wonder unfolding as you watch,
astonished and unbelieving.
And you haven't scratched the surface.

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.

3 thoughts on “August 08, 2021

  1. I am so sorry for the loss of your sister. I am the eldest (74) of 4 children. I love them and would ache with the loss of any of them.

    I hope your memories of your times with your sister will sustain you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I appreciate your note, Sandy. Diane’s loss is significant in that as the two oldest of 5 children, we bore the brunt of an abusive father’s presence, and were closer because of that than we might have been otherwise. We maintained our balance with humor and truth shared between the two of us, and we remained steadying influences in each other’s life throughout our lives. What I continue to write will be written with her in mind, and the writing will be my way of maintaining the relationship over what remains of my time left for living. — Jim


    1. Your response gives me chills. We had issues of divorce of my parents in 1964. The four of us stayed together in the midst of various traumas. As usual, we learned from the traumas. Forgiveness and love have been a long time coming for certain issues. We maintain contact, even in the midst of political upheaval. I do not share the political beliefs of my other three siblings. Trump taints everything. But once again, life brings challenges to try to come to terms with. I guess I need to be thankful for the struggle, because there are lessons in forgiveness and thanksgiving for the challenges we need to live through.

      Liked by 1 person

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