September 14, 2021

01

Emerald Lake 09/21/2009 Oil Paint Rendered — Yoho National Park, British Columbia
When we outlive our usefulness,
we fall back on our interests
and curiosity.
Without interests and curiosity,
we look at the wall
and await our last breath,
with nothing more than breathing
to keep us alive.

This makes maintaining
and developing our interests
and our curiosity,
the primary tasks
of the final stage of life.

What are the questions
that beg to be asked
by the approach of the end?
What are the discoveries
that wait to be made?

Our original nature
and our tasks for life
are steady companions
to the last of life.
Who are we?
What are we about?
Even now?
Even yet?
Even so?

And The Silence continues
to be with us
as a comforting presence
through it all--
a continuing source
of realization
and the awareness
that is a prerequisite
for reconciliation--
the last great work of life--
making our peace
with all that has gone before,
and all that remains
in a "This is the way things are,
and this is what you can do about it,
and that's that"
kind of way.

Interest and curiosity
deepen, expand and come alive
with anticipation and attentiveness
at the approach
of the last day's dawning,
when physical ends,
and consciousness disappears,
and mind returns to mind.

–0–

02

Grandfather Mountain 10/12/2011 Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, Grandfather Mountain State Park, North Carolina
Believe anything you want
as long as it enables you
to get up and do what needs to be done,
when it needs to be done,
the way it needs to be done,
in each situation as it arises,
all your life long.

Belief and faith are overrated.
Right action is all that matters.
Repetitive right action.
Day in and day out.
Over the full course of our lives.

Responding properly to this moment
sets the stage for the next moment
to be better than it would have been
with a poorer response on our part
to this moment.

We hold the future in our hands
in every moment
of every situation.
What we do here and now
impacts every moment following this one.

That is the power of right action
working its way out 
in each of our lives.

Everybody talks about going to heaven
when they die.
If we had been responding appropriately
to each moment
of every situation
from the beginning,
we would be living heavenly lives
right now.

–0–

03

Tobacco Barn 01 01/27/2012 Oil Paint Rendered — Rockingham County, North Carolina
May you have what it takes
to rise to meet every occasion
in a way that perceives what's what
and knows what needs to be done about it,
and does it at the right time,
in the right way,
moment by moment
in each situation that comes along
for the simple joy of doing it
and the satisfaction of having done it
every day throughout what remains
of the time left for living.

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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