At 2:25 A.M, a dream gentled my awareness:

It was Sunday morning; an oatmeal sky gloomed the city street as worshippers headed toward the church, its steeple still mottled from earlier rains. Among them sloshed a solitary woman in ill-fitting galoshes, her paisley scarf framing saw-toothed bangs, sallow cheeks, and pinched jowls. Winds whipped the tails of her faded coat, belted several times around her birdlike frame.

Initially the dream drew my compassion until I began to work with it and recognized myself in this impoverished woman.

Unlike her Good Will appearance, however, I was always dressed to the nines. It was her spirit that appalled me: bleak, colorless, taut as the power lines above her. Her aura seemed splintered, her energy dribbling upon the cracked sidewalk. A stranger to humor, to her tears, she seemed unaware of the wasteland burdening her stooped shoulders.

Because my Dreamer never lies, I own this beleaguered spirit; it feels rough, gangly, like a pimpled teen falling off a skateboard. Grounded, I no longer placate the god of control spinning webs of sticky illusion to appease my fear. In my arrogance, I had thought I was further along in my transition. But how absurd is it to plan for the totally known, despite years of scripture studies, of near death studies, and sitting with the terminally ill. True, I’ve learned much, but still the unknown remains the unknown. There’s no getting around it.

With the Psalmist, I continue to cry out, “Create, O God, a clean heart within me. Renew a right spirit within me.” On my own, this is impossible.