February 10, 2022


Lobster Boat 09/29/10 Oil Paint Rendered — Stonington Harbor, Deer Isle, Maine
"Turning the light around" is an old Taoist phrase
from around 500 years Before the Common Era.
It means the same thing Jesus said when he said
"Don't look out there for it,
or over there for it,
or up there for it,
or back there for it!
Look within yourself!
The kingdom of God that you seek is in YOU!"

More particularly, it is not merely IN us,
it is our Original Nature.
We are IN it!

When we are most uniquely, 
living from our heart,
as children do when they are playing with dolls, 
or playing in a sandbox,
lost to the world,
yet solidly in the world
of their original nature,
doing the things that just spring to mind
there with the doll house,
or in the sandbox.

Where do you live like that?
Free to do what needs to be done
for no other reason that because
it needs to be done
and needs you to do it?

Artist do it all the time.
And poets.
And fishermen/women.
People who can be lost in the moment
because the moment
calls them to be lost in it,
to belong to it,
with all their heart.

"Turning the light around,"
means going there,
doing that,
living from "in here,"
doing what is meet and right so to do
in light of what is being called for
from within our heart
here and now.

If you were going to turn the light around
in this fashion,
where would you be safe enough to do it?
When can you go there?
How long can you stay?
What would you take with you?
How often can you repeat the excursion?
Will you do it?

If not, why not?
If so,
Hallelujah, Hallelujah,
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah...
(If, by some chance, 
you don't know the song,
do an internet search 
for Leonard Cohen,
and be well)



Goodale 17 11/08/2013 Oil Paint Rendered — Goodalde State Park, Camden, South Carolina
The world is perfect just as it is--
as imperfect as it is,
it is exactly what it is capable of being,
and any endeavor to make it how it ought to be
would make it unfit for life.
Which, of course, is exactly what has happened.

Look around you.
This is what progress has done.

This world, just as it is, 
is someone's idea of better.

We should have stopped with the dinosaurs.
It's been downhill from there.

But "downhill" has given us 
something to do with our time.

Look at the sweep of history.
It is someone's idea of better.

The American Experiment
was the Founder's idea of better.
It was the best idea they could think of,
and they were the greatest thinkers of the age--
of any age, probably.
But they didn't get it right.
Look at all the people trying to destroy it
in the name of making it better!

No one's idea of better is going to suit everyone.

All people are not going to be better off
in any world this world is capable of producing.
We are left with exactly what we have.
It gives all of us something to do,
some good reason to get out of bed
and go to work every day.
Making things better.

This is a perfect world
just as it is.
The sooner we see that,
understand that,
embrace it, love it, relish it
just as it is,
we can get to work 
making it better
with no resentment,
disgust, etc.
about us.

We can just go to work
in the service of what needs to be done,
with the gifts that are ours to serve
and to share.

It is a wonderful, wonderful, life!
Just as it is.


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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