September 01, 2021


Summer Days 06 06/20/2013 Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina
I don't know how we know what we need,
and what we have no business being around--
and I don't know who does know.

It is but one of the Great Mysteries of life and being.

We shut ourselves off from all of them.
We have no time for mysteries, great or small.
We are onto bigger things,
like what's for dinner,
never mind how we know.


I bow before knowing 
throughout each day.
And I trust myself to it,
as do you,
allowing it to guide me
through all of the possibilities,
saying "Yes" to some
and "No" to most,
as though I know what I'm doing.

I do know what I'm doing,
and so do you,
but we don't know how we know,
or what makes us think so.

We should sit before that
each time it happens
in wonder and silent communion.

This includes all the myriad millions
of people who are duped and led astray
by QAnon and the Anti-vaxxers, etc.
They, too, know what they are doing.
They, too, know what to say "Yes" to,
and what to have nothing to do with.
And have no business trusting themselves
to what they trust themselves to.

Another of the Great Mysteries of life and being!

No one can make sense of this.

But it is all on us,
each one of us,
to know what we know,
and what we do not know,
and live the best life 
available to us 
under the circumstances.

We are responsible 
for what we do with our life.

We make the calls all the way.
For better and for worse.
We do it to ourselves.

What are your guidelines
for knowing 
when you are off the path
and on some dirt road
to the landfill?



We are at the mercy 
of merciless forces 
quite beyond us.
Within the sphere
of what we control,
we act with complete autonomy.
We are as gods there.

We "wheel and deal"
with absolute impunity
within the bounds
allotted to us
by the time and place
of our living.

"Let's go bowling, Dude!"
Why not?
And, like that, we are off!
Rambling around in lives of our own.

I read what I want,
when I want,
as long as I want.
And then, I may water the lawn.
Or not.
Depending upon what I decree.

And when a pandemic, say,
comes along,
I make adjustments to my routine,
and go on,
"singing and dancing in the rain."

It's what people have done 
through the ages.
Doing what needs to be done,
the way only we can do it.
Picking up today
where we left off yesterday,
choosing from among
our available choices,
and making the best 
of what is up to us.

Who could do more?
How could anyone have problems
with this?

Now, and forever!



Sunset Silhouette 04 09/27/2012 Oil Paint Rendered — Penobscot Bay, Deer Isle, Maine
Always the return,
the coming back to ourselves,
here and now,
and to what is being asked of us,
here and now,
and to how it is best to respond,
here and now,
no matter what is going on,
some responses are better than others,
some response is the best of them all.

We live from the best we have to offer
to each situation as it arises,
here and now.

What needs to be done
here and now?
Do it.

Do it in every here and now
that follows this one.

And do not kid yourself
about what is best.
Do not lie to yourself.
Do not let yourself off the hook.

Our responsibility
is to the best we have to offer
in every here and now
for the rest of our life.

Take this seriously
and live from the heart
in every moment
even so,
no matter what.

Always and forever.



The Ole Swimming Hole Panorama 08/26/2016 Oil Paint Rendered — The Ole Swimming Hole Panorama — Edisto River, Colleton State Park, Walterboro, South Carolina
The test of the quality of our life is this:
Do we enjoy what we are doing,
for the most part,
and take pleasure in doing it,
and find satisfaction in having done it?

If that is not so,
for the most part,
our primary focus is plain before us:
To transform our relationship with our life
(Which will entail transforming
our relationship with ourselves,
and with other people)
in ways that result in enjoying what we are doing,
for the most part,
taking pleasure in doing it,
and finding satisfaction in having done it.



The Bridge at Baxter Creek 11/07/2007 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Waterville, North Carolina
We move into each moment
out of emptiness,
bringing nothing with us,
being present with what is there
without expectation,
without intention,
without motive,
without agenda,
without anything at stake,
with nothing to gain or lose,
without past or future...
just looking,
just seeing,
just listening,
just hearing,
what's happening
what needs to happen in response,
what is called for
what is needed,
and how can we help meet the need
with the gifts/daemon/specialties/shtick/etc.
that are ours to serve and share,
moment to moment,
in each situation as it arises,
all our life long.

Move into each moment like that,
still and quiet,
waiting to see what emerges,
and responding
with sincerity
and spontaneity,
as blessing and grace
upon the occasion
and all gathered there.

May it be so.
Just that, forever.

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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