Within the harrowment of the Cross, Jesus gasps, “I thirst.”–A cosmic thirst that crazes and warps planet Earth. He remains among us, his parched tongue scraping against broken teeth, his next breath pierced by shattered ribs—a bloody thing, still hanging. It’s always been that way. We do not suffer alone.

This image has heartened me when enveloped within thirst, an aggravation for much of my life—it prodded me to seek relief in the world around me, but nothing resonated. That changed with my discovery of AA, itself, an identification with the Crucified.

With terminal illness, however, a different kind of thirst crimps my spirit, generally during nights when I’m most vulnerable. At those times, weakness impales me upon my bed. At those times, leg exercises fail to return me to sleep. At those times, nothing of significance on Talk Radio distracts me. Bleary-eyed, I clutch my crucifix and wait until dawn.

At other times, thirst takes me away from my word processor and the blog underway, reminds me to drink more water, and makes speaking on the phone difficult. Usually, I keep a cupful close at hand.

As I compose this blog, I remember pristine mornings at Gloucester’s retreat center. After my first meditation I headed toward my favorite boulder next to the ocean and noted the fresh growth of goldenrod, the Monarch butterflies. Always, I smiled into the sun toasting my shoulders. Again, I resonated with Isaiah 55:1: “Oh, come to the water all you who are thirsty.”

 And this morning I do so, as well. The invitation from the Cross is always offered.