November 28, 2021


Big Rock Preserve 02 11/17/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation, Charlotte, North Carolina
One of our superpowers 
is bearing the legitimate pain
of being alive.

When we carry the pain 
that is ours to bear,
we know that we are one
with all others in the experience
of the pain of life.

That knowledge is the source
of our identification with one another
and all human beings--
all beings--
who know the awful, grounding, truth
of life's grief and sorrow.

No one escapes the pain of living,
and in the end we all die.
The experience of that reality
makes us all one.
We face the ultimate loss of everything
together, as one.

At its heart,
compassion is the recognition
of our identity with one another
in our vulnerability and anguish.

Compassion makes life under these--
under any--
circumstances possible,
even enjoyable,

The superpower is joy 
in the midst of sorrow.
Saying, "YES!" to life
on life's terms,
in an "anyway, nevertheless, even so"
kind of way
(Which is the very same as,
the "Thy will, not mine, be done,"
kind of way,
with the "Thy" understood to be
"The Way Things Are."

We are all born into a similar fate,
we have no say as to the time and place and parents
of our birth
and the conditions/circumstances of our life.

Our destiny is what we do with the givens,
how we respond to the here and now,
regardless of what it is--
with how we bear the pain of being alive.

A compassionate embrace of life
and of everyone living under the curse of life
(We are all going to suffer and die),
transforms the nature of the situation
much like the Elder Wand,
or a superpower, 
would do.

And from there, anything can happen,
along the path that constitutes
the Adventure of Being Alive.

How well we bear the pain
tells the tale we are here to tell.
It all comes down to,
and flows from, 
that one thing.



Sourwood 04 11/04/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — 22-acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
Everything is grounded on chance
all the way down--
the chance that our parents were our parents,
the chance that we were born when and where 
we were born,
the chance that we are male or female,
or male in a female body,
or female in a male body,
or that a war came along
to ruin our chances at pitching in the major league...

All of it is based on chance.
What are the chances
of the way things are
being the way things are?

Whatever those chances are,
they improve considerably
based upon our attitude/perspective
which guides our response
to what they are,
when they are,
how they are.

We have a better future
based on how we react to our present.
Every here and now is a fulcrum,
a turning point,
upon which the future is shifted
into position.

The next moment flows from
this moment.
How we live here determines--
or strongly influences--
what we live with there.

We improve our chances
by the way we approach/deal with
our chances--
the chance that this is what
we have to deal with
and not something else instead.

What gives us the best chance
of improving our conditions/circumstances
within the conditions/circumstances
of our living 
is to empty ourselves
of desire/fear/anger/hatred/duty/agenda/opinion/emotional reactivity/
and sit/stand in the stillness and silence
what needs to be done arises/emerges/appears/occurs to us
to call us--thrust us--
into action.

When we do the right thing,
at the right time,
in the right place,
in the right way
because it is the right thing to do,
for nothing but the joy of doing it
and the satisfaction of having done it
in mind,
we transform the time and place of our living,
one situation at a time,
improve our chances and our choices,
and have it made,
as much as we can have it made
given the nature and conditions/circumstances
of our living,
and open ourselves fully to the adventure of being alive.


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.

One thought on “November 28, 2021

  1. Jim. Your words today are, to me, most profound. Empathy and compassion. Thank you for not leaving your place of meditation, so you might share with us these simple, true insights.  Off to work…. you have a great day! 1✌💕🦋

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android


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