December 06, 2021

01

Fall Woods 11/22/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
There is what we do to pay the bills.
And, there is what we pay the bills to do.

It is never enough to just pay the bills.
Even outrageous bills.
Even bills for the sixth private jet,
and the fifth private island,
and the tenth yacht.

If we aren't doing the right thing
with the bills we pay,
it's all a wash.
May as well be homeless
for all the good well-paid bills alone will do--
in terms of our joy in living,
and our enthusiasm for meeting the day.

What do we pay the bills to do?
Is our heart in what we do?
Does it make our little heart sing,
and our little toes dance?
Would we find a way to do it
even if we couldn't pay all of the bills?

Our life takes shape around that.
Falls into place around that.
Takes on its tone and its shine
because of that.

What do we need to do with our life?
What do we have to do with our life?
Our life is for doing what?

Don't answer the questions with your head.
Answer them with your heart.  

By now, you know the routine.

Emptiness.
Stillness.
Silence.
Clarity.

With practice,
we can carry 
emptiness,
stillness
and silence 
with us throughout the day,
waiting for clarity
to come into focus
out of the things that 
arise, appear, emerge, occur to us
out of the silence.

Sometimes, it comes together slowly
and we see what has always been so.

Sometimes, it comes as a flash
of realization.

But whether slowly or quickly,
Carl Jung's words are always borne out:
"We are who we always have been,
and who we will be."

Our identity takes shape around
our original nature.
Around the face that was ours
before we were born.
Before our parents were born.
Before our grandparents were born...

It is there from the beginning,
waiting for us to stop distracting ourselves
with illegitimate wants and desires,
fear and duty.

It only takes being empty, still and silent
long enough to know what we know.

And, like that (snaps fingers),
resurrection, new birth, new life, at last. 

–0–

02

Ginkgos 02 11/28/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — Ballantyne Ginkgo Park, Charlotte, North Carolina
How meaningful is your life?
How many meaningful things are in your life?
How many meaningful things
do you do in a day?
How many meaningful things
have you done in the past week?

Meaning is not "just there."
It is not accidental.
It is not routine.
It is not "just because we are alive."

It is because we immerse ourselves in meaning.
Because we hunt meaning like it is buried treasure.
Because we seek out meaning like it is pool of cool water
in a burning desert wasteland.

Our life is meaningful
to the extent that meaningful things fill our life
to the brim,
spilling over,
pouring out.

If your life isn't that way,
it is up to you to make it so.
By taking up the search for meaningful things
and enjoying them on a regular basis.

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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