October 30, 2021

01

Late Fall 10/10/2009 Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, Boone, North Carolina
Live to be appropriate
in the time and place of your living.

"Appropriate" is the right combination
of what is needed in the moment
and what is allowed by the moment.
And if you are going to err,
err on the side of what is needed.

Dance on the boundary line
of what is allowed
in every situation as it arises.

Disappoint the routine,
surprise the expected,
flirt with the unheard of,
have nothing to do 
with the common and the ordinary.

Show your stuff
in an appropriate kind of way.

Don't rub it in.
Don't be flamboyant and outlandish.
Don't flaunt the exhibition of YOU.
Don't overdo it.
But don't hide your light
under a basket either.

Say what is yours to say.
Do what is yours to do.
Ask the questions that beg to be asked.
Say the things that cry out to be said.

In an appropriate to the occasion
kind of way.

And smile as you do it.
Or laugh.

In an appropriate to the occasion
kind of way.

When in doubt about what "appropriate" is,
take a chance.
Appropriately.

–0–

02

Cataloochee Homestead 02 03/02/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee, North Carolina
The truth of the moment
waits to be revealed in every moment
to those with eyes to see,
ears to hear,
and a heart to understand.

That is to say,
to those who make inquiries,
asking all of the questions
that beg to be asked,
and saying all of the things
that cry out to be said--
and being intently aware of it all.

It is an exhausting process
to know the truth,
and painful--
because it is not
what we want it to be,
and so the phrase,
made popular by Col. Nathan R. Jessup
in the movie A Few Good Men,
"You can't handle the truth!"

The truth asks hard things of us,
forcing us to come to grips with the truth
that the way things are
is not the way we want things to be,
and requiring us to make a choice,
whether to live a lie that we want to believe,
or embrace the truth that means
giving up what we want.

This is the conflict at the heart
of all of our problems.
We will not grow up
and deal with the way things are.

We will wrap ourselves in thick layers
of denial, diversion, dismissal, distraction,
escape and rejection
in order to live out our life 
in a world of fantasy and illusion/delusion
in order to avoid dying to our wants/desires
and living in sync with the way things 
actually are.

That is the story of humankind 
from the beginning until now.
And it is up to us
to not allow it to be our story.

We begin to do that
by getting to the truth 
of the next moment
and seeing where it goes,
committed to living truthfully
all the way
to our very last breath--
even though it means dying
to our wants and wishes
in every moment
all along the way.

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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