November 17-A, 2022

Mount Wythe 09/24/2003 Oil Paint Rendered — Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta
We are not free to will what we want.
Or to will what we will.
Or to will what we ought to will.
So much for freedom of the will.

We will the things we have no business wanting,
much less willing,
much less having.
And we are bound to will those things.
We can't help it.

We can't help thinking what we think,
seeing the way we see,
believing what we believe,
wanting what we want,
loving what we love...

We are at the mercy of 
forces quite beyond us.
Nowhere near being
the captain of our ship,
the master of our destiny.

Free will is not the problem.
Wanting what we want
instead of what we should want
is our problem.
We want the wrong things.
What can we do about that?

Whose fault is it
that we are the way we are?
Certainly not ours!
We don't do anything 
to make us this way!
We would want what we ought to want
if we knew how.

Wanting our way 
is the most natural thing about us.
Show me some living thing
that doesn't want its way!

Octopuses want their way,
and mosquitoes,
and baby squirrels...
the list is long.

If it is alive,
it wants what it wants.

And if we started wanting
what we don't want,
we would still be wanting
what we want.

There is only one way out of this hole
(Who dug it in the first place?).

The best we can to is to 
stop taking wanting seriously,
and start wanting what is called for,
what is needed,
what is essential,
what is necessary...
whether we want it or not.

Doing what needs to be done
the way it ought to be done,
when and where it needs to be done,
whether we want to or not,
is the way out of any hole.


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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