April 23, 2022


Pied-billed Grebe 11/12/2011 Oil Paint Rendered — The Bog Garden, Greensboro, North Carolina
Judas took the revelation of Jesus of Nazareth--
the stone that the builders reject
which was in fact the chief cornerstone,
and we toss it into the pile of rubble
to be used for ballast for ships
with not enough cargo for stable passage
back home--

Judas took the Word of God Made Flesh
and traded it for thirty pieces of silver,
and hung himself
when he realized what he did.

And we are still ignoring the Word Made Flesh
in favor of the wonderful old pastimes of the ages,
sex, drugs and alcohol,
greed and gluttony
and passing a good time
before time sweeps it all away.

Missing the point,
which is living a life worth the effort.
Because we have no idea 
where we might find one of those.

They come right out of our own imagination.

Right out of our own heart and soul.

Ready to be found by anyone willing 
to empty themselves of all distractions,
fear, desire, worry, anxiety, guilt, shame, suffering, etc.
and wait in the stillness and the silence
for something to stir to life within,
arising, emerging, appearing
with a call to life--
not the life of our dreams,
but the life that is ours to live
if we have the resolve of Ulysses 
who said in the Odyssey, 
"I will stay with it and endure!
And when the heaving sea
has shaken my raft to pieces,
then I will swim!"

Or, will we put it off
with "Not now.
Maybe tomorrow. 
Or next week.
Some other time.
Maybe one day.



Beulah Land 55 Oil Paint Rendered — Bright Angel Point, North Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
It takes a "We" to make an "I."

We think "It takes two "I's" 
to make a "We."
As though any two "I's" will do.

If it isn't the right two "I's,"
it will never make a "We."
And it will never make an "I" either,
no matter how many babies it produces.

In order for two "I's" to be right
for a "We,"
each "I" has to be mutually accommodating.
And if one "I" can't manage that,
the other "I" has to accommodate
its failure to be accommodated,
and still make being with it
a really good place to be.

In order for one "I" to be able 
to do the work of two "I's,"
it has to be that wheel turning
out of its own center
that Nietzsche talked about
being the goal/essence of maturity.

To do that, that "I" must be
incredibly gifted from the start
in seeing what is needed on all levels
and doing what is called for
in each situation as it arises.
That's an Old Soul from birth for you,
and there aren't many of them around.

There aren't many of the right kind of "We's"
around, either.
Mostly, we are a collection of "Wannabe-I's"
drifting lost and alone through the Wasteland,
packing together in a collective "Wannabe-We,"
seeking what they need to be a Self,
snarly and pissy, woebegone and depressed,
because they don't have the right combination
of possibilities for it to happen.

Nails the culture pretty well, I must say.

What to do about it is what matters most.

How does an "I" successfully self-emerge?
Without an adequate "We" to give it birth?
By learning and applying the trick of 
"Adequate We-ness."

"Adequate We-ness" is a communal affair
where "Insufficient-I's" come together with
"Sufficient-I's" to form a community devoted
to providing an environment conducive to the
self-development of its members.

We grow each other up by being a safe place
for each other to be
while we consciously experience/explore the agony
of self-emergence.

AA can be this kind of place.
Some religious organizations can do it.
Maybe a bridge club or a poker group can manage it.
We are looking for the right kind of
family substitute--
the right kind of artificial "We"--
to create, sustain, maintain and direct
the development
of the right kind of "I."

And, whether natural or artificial,
the right kind of "We"
that is capable of producing 
the right kind of "I"
has to make the Gateless Gate
the essential feature of what it has to offer.



Little River Cascade 03/01/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Townsend, Tennessee
The work of being human
is the work of maintaining
the balance and harmony
between two worlds,
the conscious world of visible,
apparent, reality,
and the world we are unconscious of,
the world of metaphor, mystery, symbol,
insight and knowing.

We know more than we know we know.
And where that comes from,
and how we know it
is Mystery dancing before us,
winking and laughing,
inviting us to hear the music
and join in the dance.

The work of being human
is dancing with two worlds
perfectly balanced and harmonious,
laughing all the way.

Carl Jung called this
"the Mysterium Coniunctionis."
The mysterious conjunction,
the mysterious contradiction,
the mysterious dichotomy,
paradox, contrary, polarity,
that has to be recognized,
embraced, accepted and worked out--
day by day,
moment by moment,
in each situation as it arises,
all our life long.

We take up the task 
by recognizing the obligation,
knowing the difference between the worlds
and stepping (metaphorically) into
the space between them,
and making a home for ourselves
between the worlds
to which we belong,
and in which we "live and move and have our being."

Doing so consciously makes
balance and harmony possible.
Laughter lightens our load
and enables the dance to become
a regular part of our life "between the worlds."


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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