November 21, 2021


Country Cemetery 05 11-19-2021 Oil Paint Rendered — Lancaster County, South Carolina
It’s a short walk through the 22-acre Woods to this cemetery dating to the Revolutionary War period.
It has seen a lot of falls, and weathered man storms, bearing silent vigil through the years.
A testimony to the tides of time.
There is a fine line
between caring enough
about the right things
and caring too much 
about everything.

Jesus and the Buddha advised
knowing what is important
and caring about that
and letting the rest of it go.

"Why worry about tomorrow?"
they asked,
"Or about anything out of your control?"
they implied,
"Let today's trouble be sufficient
for today!"

Know what matters,
and deal appropriately with that.
And let that be that.

Or, as Lao Tzu suggested,
"Do your work and step back.
Let nature take it's course."

Striving to make happen things
that can't happen,
or have no business happening,
is dangerous and wrong-headed.

Stick with what needs to happen--
and even with that,
let the outcome be the outcome,
and keep doing what needs to happen now,
with this outcome.

It is called "Making your peace
with your life,
and doing what you can
with what you have to work with."

All our life long.



Road Through Snow 02/11/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, South Carolina
We take our comfort and consolation
where we can find it,
and it is important that we find it,
a place "to recover from the past
as store up for the future,"
as Robert Ruark's grandfather put it.

Too often, we go in for denial and addiction,
which was Robert's downfall,
and that of too many others of us
who are up against it,
with nowhere to turn.

We have to have a turn-to place
that won't turn-out to be 
worse than what sends us running to it.

Where do you turn in times of trouble?

Joseph Campbell was fond of asking,
"What do you turn to
when you have nowhere to turn?"
He followed that up with,
"There you find the stabilizing myth
that grounds you and supports you
through the ebbs and flows of life!"

What sustains us, nurtures and nourishes us?
What keeps us going?
We persist and find our way
in the strength of what?

Money won't do it.
Money pays for our addictions--
IS an addiction--
and enables our denial.
Money is a cheap substitute
for a grounding, sustaining, myth
at work in our life.

My myth is my belief/trust/confidence
in the holy trinity of
and silence,
and in the abiding presence 
of the Inner Other
that Carl Jung was talking about 
when he said,
"There is in each of us,
whom we do not know."

He referred to this Inner Other
as "The ten-million year old person"
at the heart of our DNA,
coming to life in response
to circumstances which awaken him/her
and call her/him forth
to enable us to face what must be faced,
and to do what needs to be done,
in the here and now of our life.

I take comfort in this belief-that-becomes-experience
through the daily encounters
with more than words can say
and more than I could manage on my own--
and I strengthen connection 
with the source and foundation of my life
with regular returns 
to emptiness/stillness/silence,
where I find what I need
to stand up and do what needs to be done,



R-U-N-N-O-F-T Falls 10/08/2018 Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Mountains, Blowing Rock, North Carolina
The Practice is repetition and return
to the Source
and the grounding foundation--
the ground and foundation--
of emptiness/stillness/silence,
balance and harmony,
what is called for,
what needs to happen,
here and now.

The Practice is the 
organizing principle
around which our life revolves
and everything falls into place.

Without the Practice--
apart from the Practice--
there is only the clamor and chaos,
the noise and complexity
of the 10,000 things
to shatter our peace,
disrupt our flow
and disorder our life.

Remembering our breathing
and engaging the Practice
restores our perspective
and reorients us 
to see and to do 
what needs to be next,
here and now.

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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