I wait for words, my note card opened on my table, my pen in hand. Distractions assail me: in my neighbor’s yard hangs the KC Chief’s banner, its bold red and black design flashing in the afternoon sun. I shake free of the team’s fierce determination to trample the Raiders in tomorrow’s game, then adjust my note card and wait for words. They must come.

My friend of long years is ill with double pneumonia, worsened by a blot clot in her lung. Round-the-clock surveillance monitors her condition and keeps her bed-fast. This is just another hospitalization. Others have checkered her life-steps, from all of which she has rebounded, her cheery attitude still sunning others through her continuous practice of acceptance—Even more following a night in her own bed, in quiet environs.

Indeed, she exemplifies Twelve-Step Living, even during these uncertain circumstances; her discovery of the joy of living deepens and teaches us to do likewise. Over and over, we learn that it’s not about us.

In some ways, her hospital stays mirror my own, but with my hospice admission, my return is unlikely.

But enough of this word-game. My note card is still empty, the pen limp in my hand.

I begin, “Dear Judy…”

“Namaste, Liz!” Within the door-frame of my study stood the hospice chaplain, her eyes lowered, her fingers tented in a prayer position upon her chest. It was Eunice, time for our Thursday morning meeting, an appointment she has seldom canceled during our two years together. As she slipped off her navy jacket and sank into my desk chair, she crossed her legs, leaned forward. I was hers for the hour, mask and all.

“Good to see you, again, Eunice,” I said adjusting my voice amplifier to reduce the stress of making speech, one of the symptoms of my terminal illness. “Thanks for coming. Seems as you were just here.”

“I feel the same way. Picking up from where we left off comes easy.” Her soft eyes welled with compassion. The variety and depth of subjects explored, the book titles shared, questions about my blogs, the laughter, and the silent moments have opened us to the grace of the present moment—both eager to learn of LIFE’S fulness.

Early on, she had given me a copy of Thich Nhat Hanh’s paperback, The Miracle of Mindfulness: Introduction to the Practice of Meditation (1999). Periodically, have I thumbed its pages, paused to reflect upon its wisdom that startles in simplicity, that grounds in humility, that deepens my acceptance of what is—all of this while awaiting the most momentous experience in my short span of eighty-six years on planet Earth.

Until that time comes, Eunice will continue tracking my psycho-spiritual growth—a fascinating process, with each days’ dreams and new learning.

Capturing moments of stillness has many faces; in their train, surprises abound and uplift lagging spirits, in this mid-winter afternoon.

Stillness colors washed out grays and browns in January’s shivers; hues of strangeness abound. Hide-strength mud patches glisten in the sun, like used saddles hitched to hooks in stables. Cypress limbs finger shadows upon hand-sized leaves from the nearby London plane tree: everything feels freeze-dried in such moments. Only the sense of smell suggests life decomposing into something other.

Within the stillness of this January freeze, another moment has launched an unfathomable experience, long in the waiting: this very afternoon, an eight-pound baby girl, with brunette hair, was born at home, January 21, 2022. Her first warm breaths initiated parental bonding, filled with fresh colors for mutual growth. Her name is Mary Elizabeth.

Such stillness tickle bells of silent joy. There are no words …

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