January 29, 2022


Geese on the Pond 11/02/2005 Oil Paint Rendered –Down East North Carolina
I resonate with some people,
and never connect with others.

I see that as an indication/reflection
of "where we are in our life."

Of "where we have been,
and what happened to us,
and what we have done with that."

The things that happen to us 
impact the way we see things,
interpret things,
understand things.
And the way we see things, etc.,
always fits the facts
as we see them.

Being born into some cultures/families
teaches us to be who we are,
and to see as we see, etc.
We may come out of the womb
as inquisitive, curious, little people,
into a culture/family that does not allow questions,
and become like the rest of the cows in the heard,
before we are out of diapers,
if they use diapers.

We resonate with people of similar dispositions
and backgrounds,
intelligence levels,
education levels,
social class levels,
and not so much with people of dissimilar orientations.

We "don't get along" with people
who come from different worlds.
And how many worlds do we walk through in a day?
It is amazing things aren't worse than they are!

This is to say that the people we "run with"
limit/restrict who we can be,
who and how we see, think, react/respond
to what is going on around us.

Think of who your friends are,
and of what they require and disallow.
And there you are.



Tupper Lake 03 09/22/15 Oil Paint Rendered — Adirondack Park, New York
Every family has its way of doing things.
"This is the way we do things,"
easily becomes
"This is the way things ought to be done!"

The way we do things 
is our idea
of the way things ought to be done.

In tribal settings and small towns,
the way we do things
is the way we all do things.

Enter enough people from another tribe,
or from another part of the country,
and there be trouble discerning
who the "we" is that do it the way we do it.

It helps if we all have different color skin.

"Us" and "them" separate out 
by the way we do things.
Think about things.
Believe things...
And we are making it all up,
right out of the air.

There is no Way to Do Things.
There are lots of ways to do things.
"It is the way," is a very narrow way,
pertaining to "the way" a certain segment
of the population does things,
and, hence, thinks things ought to be done.

It becomes a problem when any segment
of the population imposes its way of doing things
on all populations everywhere.
Perhaps calling it "Democracy,"
or "Capitalism,"
or "Christianity"...
And the more narrowly they define
how it ought to be done,
as in "Fascism,"
or "Communism,"
the harder it is on everyone,
and the more people "go into hiding,"
pretending to be doing it the popular way,
while secretly continuing to do it their way.

We all need to be able to do it our way,
without being constrained by someone else's
idea of The Way.
And, barring that, we all need to be aware
of what our way is,
and how we are being violated
by being forced to do it someone else's way instead.

The individual has to shine through.
The corporate ideal is destructive
to individual souls and spirits.
The "artist" within us all demands/requires 
freedom of expression.
We have to be who we are or die
to the life that is legitimately ours to live.

This is the problem we live to solve
all our life long:
How to be who we are, where we are, when we are.

How to do it our way
and get along with others 
who are doing it their way.

That is the problem at the root of human existence.

How are you coming along with it?



Boone Fork 08/26/2006 Oil Paint Rendered — Near Shulls Mill Road, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina
What grounds us, centers us, anchors us?

We live aligned with what?
In accord with what?
In harmony with what?
In service to what?
With liege loyalty and filial devotion to what?

To what do we owe fealty?

What guides and directs us through our life?

What is our general attitude, perspective, orientation?

How is that reflected in our deportment, demeanor, manner?

In what ways do we need to improve, alter, transform
our relationship with ourselves,
with our life, 
and with one another?

What is keeping you from knowing the answers to these questions?

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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