June 23, 2022


Looking Out The Window 03 Oil Paint Rendered
"What I do is me," 
said Gerard Manley Hopkins, 
"for that I came." 

There you are. 
Don't let anyone 
talk you out of being who you are, 
doing what you do. 

The world is saved by ordinary people 
daring to be who they are, 
daring to do what they do.

The Old Taoists realized as much 
sometime between 5,000 and 2,000 BCE.
They talked about being true
to our original nature
and to our innate virtues.

We lost that path
somewhere along the way,
and the focus has devolved into
making money,
and getting what we want--
at any price.

Gerard Manley Hopkins 
would not be impressed.



The Skeleton Trees of Graveyard Beach BW 15 06/02/2015 Oil Paint Rendered — Hunting Island State Park, South Carolina
How are you preparing to die?
Trying not to think about it?
Pretending it isn't going to happen?
Hoping someone develops an anti-death pill?
Denial and obstruction all the way?

We are born to die.
Every living thing dies.
To hang onto life
and push death away
is unnatural.
Unheard of.
Far beyond 
the standard,
and ordinary.

Native Americans could say,
"It is a good day to die,"
because they had lived every day
up to this day
preparing to die--
doing everything as it needed to be done,
when, where and how it needed to be done,
as it came up
in the normal course of events
throughout their life time.

Their usual and customary thing to do
was to do the thing that was called for
in each situation as it arose
moment by moment
no matter what.

This is the practice of all living things.
Taking care of the business of the day
each day
makes every day a good day to die,
because nothing has been missed
anywhere all along the way.

We are always "caught up."
Everything is always in order.
Nothing is left undone,
through all of the stages of life.

We meet the day every day,
and do what the day requires of us every day,
and are not surprised and unprepared
when death comes.

All living things approach each day
with no expectations,
no agendas,
no plans
and no opinions,
just doing what is called for
by the times and circumstances of its life.

Except for modern human beings.

We have nothing but expectations,
and opinions.
And live to impose our will 
upon the times and circumstances of our life
our entire life long.
Until, oops, the unthinkable happens
and we die.



The Ghost Trees of Boneyard Beach 03 11/17/2013 BW — Botany Bay Historical Preserve and Wildlife Refuge, Edisto Island, South Carolina
We prepare to die
by living consciously every day,
doing in each moment what needs to be done,
when, where, and how it needs to be done,
for the joy of doing it
and the satisfaction of having done it,
no matter what.

By living transparent to ourselves,
which naturally, automatically, spontaneously
makes us "transparent to transcendence"
(Joseph Campbell),
and guarantees that we live out of our original nature
and the innate virtues that are ours to serve and share,
with integrity, 
and spontaneity 
in each situation as it arises
all our life long.

This brings us forth to meet our circumstances
with fealty,
liege loyalty,
and filial devotion
to being true to ourselves
in doing what is ours to do
in the times and places of our living,
and letting that be that,
with nothing to gain and nothing to lose,
day by day
all our life long.

So that when death comes,
we are ready to receive it with arms wide open,
and to be received by it
as those who are looking forward
to the next step in the adventure of life.

May it be so,
for us and for everyone!


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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