June 07, 2022

01

The Dairy Barn Panorama 05/01/2015 Oil Paint Rendered — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, South Carolina
We have aspirations,
expectations,
desires,
which, 
when frustrated,
or delayed,
(which is often the same thing),
lead to anxiety and/or depression,
alcoholism,
drug addiction
and a long list of symptoms
associated with these types of responses
to our situation
which began as a combination
of aspirations,
expectations
and desires.

We would be better off
if we only had a bit of curiosity.
Like, "I wonder what I would enjoy doing?"
And see where that leads.

I can watch YouTube videos, say,
on DIY small engine repair,
or trench drain installation,
and know that isn't it.
I can rule out a lot of things
without ever getting my hands dirty.

If it involves getting my hands dirty,
it isn't for me.
And knitting isn't for me,
although my hands stay clean.

But I'm not wondering how to get wealthy.
I am wondering what I would love to do.
What can I do with all my heart?

Photography and writing pop to mind.
And getting to the bottom of things.
And seeing what's what in a situation...

Before I know it,
I am swimming in an ocean
of things I enjoy doing.
And it turns out that I could make enough money
doing some of them
to pay the bills,
and I paid the bills to do
some of the things that didn't make any money at all.

I'm hunching the same thing 
would apply to you.

Start with what you love to do
and see where it goes.

–0–

02

Tidal Pool 10/12/2009 Oil Paint Rendered — Stonington Harbor, Deer Isle, Maine
True belief and genuine faith
are encased in denial.

They are not only belief/faith IN something,
they are also belief/faith IN SPITE of something else,
namely a four-engine freight train
hauling car loads of solid evidence to the contrary.

Robb Elementary and Sandy Hook
and all the other stupid, senseless murders
and vicious acts of mayhem
are part of a forever train filled with examples
of how we would be as well off 
with a God who hated us
as we are with a God who reportedly loves us.

A God of love would have to do better than this,
or part with the brand.
And this is where that God
parts ways with The Mystery at the Heart of Life and Being.

Put all you have ever been told about God,
including what's in the Bible,
in the burning barrel 
and embrace The Mystery--
because all we can say about The Mystery
is that it is all Mystery,
and we don't have to say anything
to explain, defend, justify, excuse The Mystery
because it's all Mystery.

And along with embracing The Mystery,
embrace sincerity and integrity,
honesty and forthrightness.

Embrace your own original nature
and the virtues that come with you 
from the womb.

Embrace emptiness,
stillness
and silence.

Embrace The Sermon on the Mount,
the Parable of the Prodigal Son,
the Parable of the Good Samaritan,
and the bit in Matthew 25
about "Inasmuch as you have done it,
or failed to do it,
to the least of my brothers and sisters,
you have done it,
or failed to do it,
unto me."

And let these texts be your guiding lights
in determining how to conduct yourself
in relationship with yourself
and all sentient beings.

Believe that it matters how you live,
and live in ways that bring forth
your original nature and your innate virtues
in doing what needs to be done,
where, when and how it needs to be done,
in each situation as it arises
no matter what,
and let that be that.

Live how it suits you
in right relationship with The Mystery,
recognizing how we are all immersed 
in Mystery from birth to death and beyond,
and honor The Mystery
with all your life and being,
in all you say and do.

–0–

03

The Skeleton Trees of Graveyard Beach 06/02/2016 BW Oil Paint Rendered — Hunting Island State Park, South Caorlina
If we lived as though 
it is all up to us,
we would do it differently
than we do it waiting on God
to take care of us.

It is all up to us!

We are killing the environment.
We are killing each other
with "Guns for everybody!
Come get your guns!
You can't have enough guns!"

There is no divine intervention
to keep us from driving off the cliff
into oblivion.

It is all up to us!

If Republicans are elected
children will die from gunshot wounds.
People of all ages will die from gunshot wounds.
We elect Republicans.
We do it to ourselves.

It is all up to us!

What we do matters!
How we live matters!
The choices we make matters!

We cannot live as though 
someone is going to pick up after us,
or sweep the path before us.

How we live in our present
determines how our future will be.

It is all up to us!

–0–

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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