November 11-B, 2022

Three Trees in the Fog 09/26/2011 Oil Paint Rendered — Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Conflict and contradiction
are at the heart of life.

Yin/Yang, you know.

We have to work it out,
bearing in our own body
the marks of the cross.

Our cross to bear
is the dichotomy of being alive.
On the one hand this,
on the other hand that--
and that doesn't take into account
all of the other stuff waiting in the wings. 

Our cross to bear is the pain
of being alive
in a world where this interferes with that.

Adam and Eve in Eden.
Jesus in Gethsemane.

"Without contraries is no progression"
(William Blake, "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell").

"All we ever wanted was smooth and easy,"
(Ogi Overman).

It ain't smooth and it ain't easy.

Coming to terms with that
is the task of being alive.

We make the peace
by standing between the opposing forces of existence,
bearing the full weight of Yin and Yang,
and negotiating our way to balance and harmony.
Time after time.

When you find yourself being overwhelmed,
torn apart,
fragmented and "at wits end,"
clarify the contractions at work
in the time and place of your living.
You can't do what because of what?
What is blocking the peace?
What are the conflicting sources
of upheaval and anguish?

Sit in full awareness
of the awful nature
of your circumstances
and wait for the resolution
of recognition,
for the shift of realization,
to put you in accord
with the things that are 
out of accord,
with the way things are,
so that you are at peace
with having no peace,
and with what that means,
which is generally
a metaphorical dying
to what you want,
or to what needs to be
and cannot be...

Native Americans before the US Calvary.
People of Color before racism and fascism.
The environment before corporate greed
and ruthless viciousness in the service
of Profit At Any Price...

All of the agonies that must be borne
even so

"He who learns must suffer. 
And even in our sleep 
pain that cannot forget 
falls drop by drop upon the heart, 
and in our own despair, 
against our will, 
comes wisdom to us 
by the awful grace of God" ― Aeschylus

“If, in any situation, 
there is no solution, 
there is no point in being anxious. 
If the forces at work 
have their own momentum, 
and what’s going on now is the product 
of what went before, 
and if this generation is not 
in control of all those forces, 
then this process will continue.” 
– The Dalai Lama, on the Chinese occupation of Tibet

“We don’t have a right to ask 
whether we’re going to succeed or not. 
The only question we have a right to ask 
is what’s the right thing to do? 
What does this earth require of us 
if we want to continue to live on it?” 
— Wendell Berry

“You have to trust in something – 
your gut, 
karma, whatever. 
Because believing 
that the dots will connect 
down the road 
will give you the confidence 
to follow your heart 
even when it leads you off 
the well worn path; 
and that will make 
all the difference.” 
― Steve Jobs

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.

One thought on “November 11-B, 2022

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: