January 06-A, 2023

Two Sunflowers 03 06-20-2019 Oil Paint Rendered — Draper Wildlife Management Area, McConnells, South Carolina
No one told me the importance
of guarding/protecting/shepherding/stewarding
our vulnerable/defenseless inner-self.

Everyone in my world was swinging away at it,
within me and everyone else.
Attacking sarcastically any hint
of weakness,
compassion,
empathy,
sensitivity
and grace. 

Everybody had to be mean,
tough,
shrewd,
rude,
coarse,
uncaring
and indifferent.

I look back on that world
and wonder 
how I ever survived.

A lot of us did not,
and took our consolation
in whiskey,
gin,
vodka
and cheap red wine
(This was before pot,
cocaine
and fentanyl).

How much drug abuse,
and how many suicides,
could be prevented
by recognizing
and guarding/protecting/shepherding/stewarding
our vulnerable/defenseless inner-self?

It is a sick world
in which the question 
needs to be asked.

We have a tender side.
And we are responsible
for tending it,
nurturing it,
nourishing it
and developing our relationship
with it
over the full course of our life.

We will discover
that it will return the favor
ten-fold
as the source of vitality
life,
interest,
enthusiasm,
radiance,
joy,
bliss,
wonder,
love
and delight.

We need to tell our children
early-on
about the importance of their tender side,
and of walking two paths at the same time,
fostering their noble heart
as well as their warrior spirit,
so that they are capable 
of meeting the world
as it needs to be met
in each situation as it arises,
giving mercy
and taking no quarter
as the occasion demands,
honoring the "time and place 
for everything" reality
over the full course of our life.

–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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