September 13, 2021


East-Bound at Morant’s Curve 09-24-2009 Oil Paint Rendered — Banff National Park, Alberta
Everyone dies.
The trick is to not die too soon.

Practically everyone dies too soon.
And are the walking dead
Jesus was talking about
(Because no one--
not even Jesus--
can talk to them.
They are quite dead,
and long past being able
to hear anything being said
to them)
with his,
"Leave the dead 
to bury the dead" line.

Don't be one of them!
I don't care how easy 
it would be--
and nothing is easier
than being dead 
before your time.

Look around you.
Everyone you see is dead
before their time.
And there is no resurrection
for them,
in spite of the fact
that a large majority of them
spend all of their time
talking about the resurrection,
and no time at all 
talking about what's what
right here, right now,
and what needs to be done about it,
which is the only conversation
worth having.

How alive are you to right here, right now?
That's how alive you are.
If there is nothing here, now, for you,
and you are just wiling away the hours
waiting for Jesus to come take you
to Beulah Land,
you are really only waiting 
for some coroner to make your death official,
because you have been unofficially dead
for years,
having shut Jesus out of your life
long ago with his piercing inquiry,
"Why don't you decide for yourself
what is right?"

You chose not to decide anything
for yourself
and to opt out of your life
by letting someone else tell you
what to do and when and how to do it
all your "life" long.

The first rule of life
is Be True To Yourself!
If you miss that step,
there are nothing but false steps remaining,
and here we are,
with "nothing but the dead and dying
back in (our) hometown"
(and everywhere else we have been,
and are).

So, "Don't Die Too Soon!"
is the guiding mantra
of those who are determined
to find their life and live it,
no matter what.
If you are ever going to be anything,
be one of those people,
and "get busy living"
as Red Redding might say.



Kisatchie Pines 08/13/2008 Oil Paint Rendered — Kisatchie National Forest, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana
The Buddha had it figured out.
His "release from suffering"
is simply, "Don't let it get to you!"
"Don't take it seriously!"
"Don't give it the time of day!"

This is all Buddhism comes down to.

"Put all your moaning and complaining,
whining and crying
'Like a little boy with two skint knees'
in a paper bag
and throw it in the burning barrel!
'And get busy living,
or get busy dying,' (As Red Redding might say)."

We take every thing too seriously.
Money, for example.

I once took a cross I had made
by gluing two wooden matches
(back in the day)
put them in an ash tray
(still back in the day)
and torched them with a lighted match,
in a group of high schoolers
at a church I was pastoring,
and no one said anything.

I then took a dollar bill
and set it on fire in the same 
ash tray,
and everybody shouted,

"Making a point," I said.
"What symbol means the most to you?"

Money counts most.
Matters most.
We take money seriously.

But. We can't eat it.
We can't drink it.
We can't breathe it.
Yet, we destroy the environment
to make money.

Go, as they say, figure.

The Buddha would say,
"Stop taking your life
and everything in it so damn seriously!"

Lao Tzu would say,
"Do your work and step back.
Let nature take its course."

But we have no idea of what our work is.
We do not know what we are here for.
And we think more money
is the answer to all of our problems.

And if you won't listen to the Buddha,
and if you won't listen to Lao Tzu,
what chance do I have?

Do you think I worry about it?

I'm stepping back.

Letting nature take its course.



Falls Pond 03 09/24/2006 Oil Paint Rendered — Kancamagus Highway, North Conway, New Hampshire
Our symbols choose us 
the way the wand chooses the wizard.

We do not think up a worthy symbol,
we realize the truth
of the symbols that are who we are,
that represent the essence of
"who we have always been,
and who we will be" (Carl Jung).

Realizing our connection
with that which represents us
to ourselves and to the world
is a major transition point
from looking to seeing,
and aids tremendously
in finding the guides
that will lead us along the way.

The trick with symbols 
lies in their interpretation.
Any symbol can be us or not-us,
depending on how we view them.

And so it is said that
"Right-seeing is the heart
of right-doing and right-being,
although the line separating 
the three is too fine to see,
even with an electron microscope
and infinite patience.

The other trick with symbols 
is that all symbols have to be
re-interpreted over time.

That is why Christianity is a dead religion.
It's symbols are dead.
Not one has been upgraded/updated
in over 2,000 years.
And everybody can tell you what they are
and what they mean!
A living symbol reveals itself to you
in ways that cannot be said/told/explained
to anyone--
even to ourselves!

They are as true as true can be,
but we cannot say what it is exactly,
or what it means!
Which is the essential quality of all truth!

We are always working with our symbols
and seeing how they deepen and expand
with our investigation/examination of them
over the full course of our life.

It is hard to imagine how we could ever
out-grow our symbols,
but it is easy to see how we might
kill them,
with inattention
and unconcern.

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 13, 2021

  1. Hi Mary Emma, I look forward to each day’s revelations and the readjustments and reformulations they require. Every day calls for another to sort things out some more again. I’m glad you are along for this part of the ride!


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