February 05, 2022


The Patriarch 09/22/2007 Oil Paint Rendered — Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, Wyoming
We plop out of some womb into some time and place,
with no idea of what to do next,
and make it up all the way.

If we are born into some tradition--
and who isn't--
we inherit a lot of it,
which has been made up for us
and passed along to us
as a pretentious way of saying,
"This is how it is."

But it is all made up.

And we invariably--inevitably--
run into somebody who has made it up
in a different way,
and if it is a much different way,
they will try to kill us 
because we don't belong in the world
as they make it up.

It is all so crazy.

Nobody could have thought this up.
It has to be completely random,
things just happening,
and here we are.

Now what?

We have to make it up.

I would like a world that helped people
imagine a life worth living
within the terms and conditions
in place at our birth,
and assisted us throughout the process
by listening us to one realization after another,
shaping our life accordingly 
in light of the realities at play upon us.

What is worth doing with our time
within the context and circumstances,
the limitations and possibilities,
at work during the times of our living?

Somebody ought to be helping us answer this question
from the moment we plop out of the womb.

And the fact that they are not there to help us along the way,
leaves us with doing for ourselves
what needed to be done for us.

What is worth doing with the gifts/daemon/genius/virtues
that came with us into the world?

We need to be pondering this question
through all the days left for living--
and doing the things that come to mind.



Fall Morning 10/14/2008 Oil Paint Rendered — Price Lake, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina
There is no purpose being served
and no plan at work
in things being the way they are.

No intention,
no design,
no reason.

Things are the way they are
because they fall into place that way
as a result of changes, shifts
and transformations
in the way things are over time.

Everything is in flux,
searching for equilibrium,
homeostasis, balance and harmony,
"seeking its own level"
through time.

Movement here results in imbalance there,
and rocks tumble down the mountainside,
searching for rest at last.

And nothing knows what it is doing.

Everything is looking for rest at last.

We strive to maintain order,
get things like we like it,
and keep everything unmoving
and in its assigned place forever.

As if that can happen,
or has any business happening.

The natural laws of momentum and inertia
play out on all levels of existence,
and we try to make sense of it,
get ahead of it,
use it to our advantage,
in getting things like we want them,
and keeping them there forever.

Ordering our world requires the ability
to impose our will upon the world at large,
and we live out of the fantasy of power and control,
striving to get this and avoid that,
carving out small enclaves,
where things can be like we like them to be,
and we can be at rest at last.

But the world won't leave us alone for long.
And we are carried along by forces
quite beyond us
into situations that disturb and disorient us
all our life,
seeing our own level,
searching for balance and harmony,
longing for "peace like a river,"
wondering if it is something we did.


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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