Each morning I show up for another sick day of my terminal illness as differentiated from actively dying in Dr. Singh’s book The Grace in Dying. Still handling my ADLs, I fill the hours with blogging, praying, reading, phone and email contacts, resting, and CPA meetings. The little blue pill still supports my functioning. Weekly visits with the hospice nurse and occasional ones from the social worker continue; the chaplain, on medical leave. Time seems to careen like gymnasts hurtling the vault.

Two days ago, however, I was diverted from my routine.

On my bookshelf lay the paperback The Room on Rue Amelie (2018), by Kristin Harmel, which a friend had dropped by months ago. I picked up the novel and scanned the reviews. A kernel of fact held it together: During World War II the Paris resistance developed Comet, an escape route into Spain for Allied pilots shot down over Germany and Nazi-occupied France.

Although the novel afforded me a respite from my usual routine, it was a thin read: Too many characters, too many coincidences, too many clichés, too many gaps in the story line. Withal, the author’s ambition misshaped her story. Yet, I completed the novel, surprised by my critique. The experience prompted my return to studying books with depth, with artistry, with life-lessons. Despite my limits, my imagination still needs feeding.

I could be sick for a long while and life’s fullness still abounds with glimpses of the Sacred.