September 16, 2021


Trees in Fog 07 03/28/2012 Oil Paint Rendered — Sioux Falls, South Dakota
We all have things we care about
and things we care not about.
We are set apart and defined by those things.

What do you love?
What do you abhor?
There you are!

Even the Dalai Lama
has those on his 
"Don't Like To Be Around/
Don't Like To Do" List.

Here is the really important thing
about our lists:


They are automatic,
unique to each of us
in their variety,
and refinement.

We cannot help how we feel.
We can only try to control
what we do about it.

You know your sister-in-law?
Or your brother-in-law?
Everybody has one.
Or more.

Sometimes, it is your sister,
or your brother.

It's weird how it works.
Across the board,
around the circle,
throughout the world.

It is one of the things
we have in common with everyone--
and could serve us well
as a uniting factor in 
bringing us all together as one.

We could hold "Who Do YOU Hate?"
block parties
and therapy sessions,
where we talk about our helplessness
and inability to be free of
our fundamental orientations
and incapacitates.

This is the thing:
there are things about us
we do not control.
Our point of view.
Our way of thinking.
Our preferences
and our disinclinations...

We have a better chance of
making up our mind
than we have of changing our mind.

Our mind changes all of the time,
but not because we will it to be so.
What's up with that?

What is our ideal of who we want to be?
Who says that is ideal?
Who thinks it is atrocious? 
See what I mean?

Now, what do we do about it?
Recognize how it is and let it be!
Keep an eye on it
without taking it seriously,
or thinking it means something,
or believing it gives us the right
to treat other people 
the way we are inclined to treat them!

And start cutting slack,
across the board,
around the circle,
throughout the world.

The people we hate
are just the people we hate.
That doesn't say anything about them.
It speaks volumes about us!

Our sister-in-law, etc., is there to grow us up!
If it weren't her,
it would be somebody else!
There will always be someone
to carry our projections
and show us who we are
by showing us who we don't want to be.

Our enemies are our friends in the sense
of exposing our own lack of compassion,
kindness, latitude and grace,
and the ways we need to expand,
our capacity for being open,
caring places 
inviting everyone 
to come sit and rest for a while.



Summer Panorama 04/11/2011 Oil Paint Rendered — Blowing Rock Street Garden, North Carolina
Everything is temporary,
nothing lasts.
Gravity is apparently permanent,
but even gravity's time is limited.

Expansion and collapse, Kid.
Expansion and collapse.
If it isn't coming, it's going,
or turning around.
It's all just a matter of time.

The rhythm is always there.
Change is unchanging.
The beat goes on and on...

And I find something strangely 
comforting in that.
To be a part of nature's rhythms,
riding the tide as it comes and goes
and turns around,
has a faintly familiar ring to it,
like I have been here before,
and again before that,
and again...

I am at home in the coming and going
and turning around.
And when I go, 
I'm not going to be going anywhere--
certainly not anywhere I haven't been.
It ought to be old hat by now!
I'm on a roll, here.
We all are!

"And when the heaving sea
has shaken my raft to pieces,
then I will swim!" 
(Odysseus in the Odyssey).

Swimming on and on,
and taking nothing with 
more seriousness than it deserves.

Coming and going with the tides of time
in harmony with the music of the spheres.
Oh, what a ride!

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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