October 01, 2021


The Limb Oil Paint Rendered
We are built for a certain way of life.
Our integrity
and our sincerity
depend upon--
and therefore require--
our being aligned with,
and living in accord with,
the life that we are built to live,
the life that waits on us to live it.

We cannot live just any life,
and fit,
and belong,
and mesh with the things
that life calls for.

You wouldn't want me to sing 
at your next wedding.
The list is long of things 
I have no business doing.

The same goes for you.

How well do we fit the life we are living?
How much do we belong there?
The people we run with?
The things we do in our spare time?

What is it about us that is right for our life?
What is it about us that is wrong for our life?
What is it about our life that is right for us?
What is it about our life that is wrong for us?

How might we begin living in ways that increase what is right
and decrease what is wrong 
about the "fit" between us and our life?

Sit with the questions in the stillness and the silence.
See what stirs to life there,
what emerges, arises, occurs to you as realization
and possibility.

And see where it goes.



Before Sunrise 11/04/2007 Oil Paint Rendered — Down East North Carolina
Joseph Campbell said,
"Where you stumble and fall,
there lies the treasure."

Jesus said,
"The stone the builders reject
becomes the chief cornerstone."

Joseph and Jesus are saying the same thing.

We have to mine the metaphors 
to get to the gold.

"Where you stumble and fall."

What trips you up?
You are likely stumbling over
"the stone the builders reject."

"The builders" would be you.
"The stone" would also be you.

Shooting ourselves in the foot 
is what we do best.
NO! Telling ourselves what we want to hear
is what we do best!
NO! Refusing to examine our expectations
and assumptions
is what we do best!
NO! Not seeing what we look at
is what we do best!
...The list is long,
and it all amounts to the same thing:
We trip ourselves up
every time we fall.

We sabotage ourselves all of the time.
But--we are only trying 
to get our attention.

We start digging
where we stumble and fall
by asking the questions that beg 
to be asked,
and saying the things that cry out
to be said,
and following all of the clues
to the truth they reveal.

Which will be the truth of who we are
and also are.
The truth of what we are doing
to hide from,
the truth of our original nature,
and how we are failing/refusing
to be true to ourselves
within the present context
and circumstances of our life.

In becoming/being ourselves
in ways that are commensurate 
with our circumstances
(Balancing and harmonizing Yin and Yang
endlessly, daily, throughout our life),
we discover that the truth
we live to deny
is "the chief cornerstone"
of the life that needs us to live it. 

And there we are.
Needing to repeat the process
the next time we trip over ourselves,
stumble and fall,
on our way to trusting ourselves
to be who we are,
where we are,
when we are,
how we are,
no matter what,



Lake Haigler Fall 05 11/03/2013 Oil Paint Rendered — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, South Carolina
The revelation is on-going,
Who we are and who we are becoming.

We are called forth
by each situation as it arises,
like the Cyclops calling forth
the hero in Ulysses.
Or the circumstances
calling forth the Christ in Jesus.

We undergo the baptism of new birth
every time we dare to 
meet the day on the day's terms,
seeking to find the way through the day
without applying the formulas,
the creeds,
the dogmas,
the doctrines,
the maps,
the rules,
the procedures and processes
guaranteed to produce results
and provide the pleasure
of smooth and easy
without going to the trouble
to see what we look at
and know what's what
and what needs to be done in response
here and now--
no matter how similar this is
to then and there,
and who cares anyway.

The old Taoists would remind us:
"The path that can be discerned as a path
is not a reliable path."

And Jesus would say,
"The spirit is like the wind
that blows where it will."

Calling us all to stand apart from 
our assumptions and expectations,
plans and agendas,
and step empty and unarmed
into each moment,
seeing/sensing what is happening
and what is called for,
and allowing our original nature,
with its gifts/shtick/specialties/daemon/
to rise to the occasion
with sincerity and spontaneity,
surprising us with its the appropriateness
of its presentation,
and blessing all there with its timing and grace.

What new thing is this?
Where did it come from?
“Traveling on every path, 
you will not find 
the boundaries of soul by going; 
so deep is its measure" (Heraclitus).

And we are capable of more
than we are capable of fathoming,
or believing.
We only have to trust that it is so,
and live so as to find what our limits
actually are--
by stepping into each situation,
and seeing what we can do there
that needs to be done.

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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