September 12, 2021


Dogwood Stream 02 04/13/2011 Oil Paint Rendered — Davidson River, Pisgah National Forest, Brevard, North Carolina
Individuals are capable of growing up,
putting their childish past behind them
and being mature in the way
they deal with their life.

Not so nations.
Where nations are concerned,
immature individuals pursue
military and political power
to compensate for a gross absence 
of maturity and character,
and we get what we have
on an international level.

Money rules, not maturity.
Not wisdom.
Not noble hearts.
Not grace.
Not compassion...

And I don't see a fix for this
in our lifetime.
Or in the lifetime of the planet.

No one has to be qualified
to lead their nation
or the world.

Our work is to live satisfying lives
during the time left for living,
working as we are able
to establish refuges,
oasis's of mercy, kindness 
health and goodwill
within the swirling instability
of clashing rocks and heaving waves.

Decency and honor are going to be
individual achievements,
not national monuments.

We take it on ourselves 
to do what is right
in each situation as it arises,
to stand for the best
and exhibit it in our way
with our life and with our neighbors--
while we mourn their demise
on political, 
and cultural levels.

We are to be what we seek
and encourage its proliferation 
as we are able,
in a "Do your work
and step back,
letting nature take its course"
kind of way.



Eno River 02 04/24/2009 Oil Paint Rendered — Eno River State Park, Durum, North Carolina
Balance and harmony
are the first things to go
when we leave the path,
turn aside from the Way,
and have no more to do
with the nudges and tugs
from instinct and intuition
arising in the silence
to guide our living
and direct our lives.

People who know what they want
and live to have their way--
people who know what's best
and strive to be pleased--
stumble over the guardrails
and crash through
"Road Closed" barriers
on their way 
to success and happiness everlasting
all the time,
joining the people 
who don't have a clue
in the hoard of those
wandering through the Waste Land
in search of something
to take their mind off their plight,
with only denial as their companion
and desire as their guide.

Everyone blames someone else.
No one takes stock,
conducts an inventory,
realizes their own deficits,
makes an accounting
and comes to terms
with the truth of their situation.

Nothing changes until we do.

What are the chances
of anything being other than it is
in our lifetime?



Evening Light Oil Paint Rendered — Clingman’s Dome Parking Lot, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee, North Carolina
Be right about what matters most
and give yourself
into its service
with no attachment to,
or opinion of,
the outcome
in each situation as it arises
all your life long.

This is committing yourself 
to right action--
doing the right thing,
in the right place,
at the right time,
in the right way--
and letting that be that,
in a "do your work
and step back,
and let nature take its course"
kind of way.

Thinking there must be some payoff,
some recognition,
some gain,
some advantage,
some benefit
to doing what needs to be done,
is to fail the situation
and live in light of the wrong ends
throughout time.

We are to be good for nothing
in the truest sense of the term.

Get that down,
and the entire world reaps 
the benefit.


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.

2 thoughts on “September 12, 2021

  1. Part of your post reminds me of a course I took in Santa Barbara 30 years ago with Marshall Rosenberg who created the “Jackal and the Giraffe” metaphors and created the Center for Nonviolent Communication: The current political divisions remind me that we need to learn how to use communication skills (which can be learned) to negotiate our differences. During the past four years I despaired that these skills no longer existed, however, I think my vision still needs to include them.


    1. I certainly think your vision needs to include them, with the caveat that there are people with no interest in negotiating our differences. They just want us dead and out of their way. Killing people is the fastest way to consensus. It’s worked that way through the ages. Christianity is the way it is because the early church killed the “heretics,” and had no interest in negotiating differences. Fascists/White Supremacists have no interest in making room for anyone not like they are. Knowing whom we can talk to and who can’t hear a word we are saying is important knowledge to have, may we all be so wise!


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