March 02, 2022


Beulah Land 04 Oil Paint Rendered
Making our peace with the way things are
seems to be the perennial task of our existence.

It comes down to comforting ourselves
about the circumstances of our life
by telling ourselves whatever works
to keep us going.

We can't make sense of it.
Contradiction and paradox--
yin and yang--
and the mystery at the heart
of life and being
defy our best efforts to explain
things to ourselves
without having to explain our explanation,
and still having the inexplicable to deal with.

But our life calls us to get back in the game
and do what we can with what we have to work with
to make things as good as they can be
in coming up with the wherewithal
to do it again tomorrow.

Why is there hatred and fear and anger and greed...?
I don't know.
Why aren't we more balanced and sane?
I don't know.
Why do people kill people?
I don't know.
The list of questions I don't know how to answer
unfolds endlessly before me,
and I have to get up each day
just as you do
and make the best of what I'm given
to work with
because that's the way things are.

And it makes no sense. 

And it is ours to work with as best we can
in doing what needs us to do it
every day,
anyway, nevertheless, even so.

Because that's the way things are.

And if it makes no sense,
it also makes no sense
to give up and quit
because it makes no sense
to get in there and do our thing
anyway, nevertheless, even so.

Besides, we get to enjoy each others' company
this way--
and wouldn't have it if we all just quit.



Canadian Aspen 02 09/28/2009 Oil Paint Rendered — Jasper National Park, Alberta
We have what we need to find our way
through this place
with panache and pizzazz.
That's the first thing we have to find.

It takes the right kind of emptiness,
the right kind of stillness,
and the right kind of silence.

The right kind of emptiness 
is being empty of everything,
even the desire to be empty.

The right kind of stillness 
is trusting ourselves to stillness.

The right kind of silence
is opening ourselves to the silence
with expectant waiting
like a woman waiting to deliver her first child.

Wait like a woman looking for labor pains!

Take up the practice of emptiness, stillness and silence
waiting for the magic to happen,
when it all clicks into place,
and you know the wonder
of having found the doorway
to the storehouse 
of all you will ever need along the way.

It's been right there the entire time.

Spend the rest of your life exploring 
the world beyond this world,
growing in wonder and amazement,
trust and confidence,
and relishing your growing relationship
with The Other Whom We Do Not Know,
to borrow Carl Jung's name
for the face that was ours before we were born.

The Other is us and we are The Other
and life together is a joy divine.

The reason it takes so long to discover this
is that no one tells us about it
and we have to stumble upon it on our own,
thanks to The Other who never gives up on us,
and always keep trying to wake us up
and get us to turn the light around.


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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