August 30, 2021


Boone Fork 18 10/16/2016 Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina
Being vaccinated
enhances freedom
on every level.

COVID is the end of freedom
on all levels.

This is all we need to know
about this matter.

And all we need to say. 



Roaring Fork Creek 04/13/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Roaring Fork Motor Tour, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
"May it be well with you
and all those who see as you do."

That is the best we can do
in talking with those 
whose view of reality
is starkly different from our own.

There is no talking anyone out 
of the way they see things.
There is very little chance
of talking them into seeing
that the way they see things
is not necessarily associated
with the way things are.

In yesterday's Zoom call with 
one of our granddaughters,
her computer was sitting on a
table in front of the couch 
she was on,
and I could see over her right
shoulder a little doll-like man
with a turban and bushy hair
sitting on a shelf and 
peering around a door that was 
opened against a wall.
During the conversation,
I asked her to tell me about
"the little man" behind her.

She was mortified and insistent
that there was no little man
back there,
which I could clearly see.
So I asked her to take
her computer over to him
and allow me to point him out to her.
She did,
and with the shift in perspective,
I saw (because the truth was readily,
undeniably, plain before me)
that the turban, was a white, 
triangular pot holding a bushy
green plant hooked onto the wall,
and the little man 
was her jacket which she had hung
against the wall slightly 
below the plant.

I saw something that wasn't there
by seeing a meaning in the pattern
that was not the meaning of the pattern.

She would have never talked me out of 
the meaning I had constructed.
She had to show me what I was looking at
in a different way 
so that I could see it "for what it was worth."
So that I could see it "just so."
"Just as it was."

It was, for me, "an eye-opener."

I wish we could do that about a lot of things,
instead of arguing with words
about what is and is not so.

"May it be well with you
and all those who see as you do,"
is, too often, the best we can do.


Roaring Rock Falls 05/20/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Pisgah National Forest near Mt. Mitchell, North Carolina
We see patterns and impose meanings.
That is what we do.
We are Meaning Makers.

We step into the world out of nowhere,
look around,
and start figuring things out.

It is all a swirl of patterns and textures,
light and shadows
at first,
but then, things begin to appear to us,
like Big and Little Dippers in the stars,
and faces in tree trunks,
and animals in clouds.

And we make up stories 
to explain all that we experience,
and create dogma and doctrines and theology
right out of our imagination.

Our imagination is our super power.
Our magic wand.
Our most spectacular tool/weapon.

Armed only with our imagination,
we came forth out of nowhere
into chaos and turmoil
and brought forth grand pianos,
and baseball,
and rockets that take us to the moon.

It all came right out of our imagination.
With it we find meaning in patterns 
and create the world we live in
out of the meaning we perceive.

The trouble is that we 
don't always agree 
about what's what.
That's because we are making it all up.
And there are different ways
of seeing what we look at.

How many gods have there been?
And, of those,
how many "Only Gods" have there been?
The Only God is always the god 
the victors declare to be the Only God.
And the Way we talk is the way
the victors talk.
And the way we see things
is the way the victors see things.

War has given us the world as it is.

Bearing that in mind
frees us to look again
at what we think we see,
and how we believe things are.

There are only patterns,
and they are everywhere.
We arrange them according 
to the meaning we say they have.
But, there are only patterns.

The world is an ink blot.
What we see is projected
onto the patterns
and is not to be confused
with the patterns themselves.
What we see says more
about who is looking
than it says about what is there
to be seen.

Remembering that helps
us in our work to see in ways
that serve balance and harmony,
sincerity and integrity,
spirit, energy and vitality,
around the table,
across the board,
throughout the world
and over the entire cosmos.

And to see war
as the result
of taking the way we see things
too seriously,
and to remind us to turn away 
from the temptation to kill our enemies,
and to sit down with them,
and make music together,
and to dance and be merry
instead of going to war.

If only it would be so.

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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