November 17, 2021

01

Beech Woods 07 11/10/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — 22-acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
We would transform the world
just by living out the role
of the Prodigal's father
(Google "The Parable of the Prodigal Son),
and greeting everyone we meet
as though they are our long-lost child.

This is only a matter of attitude
and perspective,
and it would make all the difference.

Attitude and perspective are superpowers
available like that (snaps fingers)
to everyone,
and impacting every moment
of everything we do,
our future,
and that of the entire cosmos.

The way we live matters
on multiple levels--
and how we see,
think, evaluate, assess
and feel about 
our circumstances,
moment-to-moment,
in each situation as it arises,
directs our action
throughout our life.

It is all interpretation!
Something happens and we immediately--
instantaneously--
ascribe meaning to it,
and respond to it 
out of our assessment of it.

In so doing, we are reacting to US!
To ourselves!
To our own perspective and attitude!
Our action flows from 
what we say it means 
that something happened!
And we blame whatever happened
for making us do
whatever we do
in a "It's people like you
who make people like me
hate people like you" kind of way.

That has to stop!
And it stops with us,
and with our being aware
of the power of our own
perspective and attitude.

Seeing what we are seeing
and how we are seeing it
changes everything.

Taking the time to see our seeing,
to see what and how we are seeing,
and the way we are impacting ourselves
with our interpretation/evaluation/
assessment/response/perspective/
attitude/etc.--
and taking the time necessary
to empty ourselves of all of that
is to stand in the stillness and silence
before what we are seeing,
so that we are just seeing
what we are looking at
just as it is.

Being empty and living from emptiness
in this way,
makes possible a brand new,
never experienced,
world of wonder and possibility,
in which "the old has passed away,
and the new is increasingly real."

And all it takes is seeing
what we look at.

–0–

02

Aho Valley 11/06/2021 — Blue Ridge Mountains, Boone, North Carolina
A plausible case could be made
for Jesus being a schizophrenic
with a messiah complex--
and it would be on a foundation
more stable
than what has been passed along to us
as "the gospel truth" for 2,000 plus years.

Which is to say,
it does not matter what we believe.
It matters what we do.

If we do the right thing,
at the right time,
in the right way,
in each situation as it arises
all our life long,
we can believe anything we choose--
as long as it results
in doing the right thing,
at the right time,
in the right way.

And, "What is the right thing?"
Time will tell.
As Jesus said,
"Wisdom is known by her children."
And, sometimes, it is by her grandchildren,
or her great grandchildren.

And here is the really tricky part:
"The right thing"
comes in and out of favor
over time!
What appears to be right today,
appears to be wrong tomorrow,
and right again the day after...
So what is it really?
It is a matter of who says so when.

Which brings us back to the here and now
and the question of what is the right thing to do.
Who is to say?
WE are.
And we have to be right about it!
But how do we know?
We sit/stand in the stillness
and wait in the silence
for what arises/emerges/appears
to guide us in knowing/doing.

And if it turns out that we were wrong,
we do what can be done to redeem our action,
making amends and doing penance,
and striving for a better outcome next time. 

Living from the heart
toward the best we can imagine/envision
and the good of the situation as a whole,
moment to moment
is the work of every human being.

How well we all do that
tells the tale.

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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