Oh the house of denial has thick walls

and very small windows

and whoever lives there, little by little,

will turn to stone.

–So imagines Mary Oliver in her poem, “Hum, Hum,” found in her collection,  A Thousand Mornings (2012).

The metaphor for denial still resonates within my psyche. Long an unacknowledged block to decades of painful realty, I failed to mature; its strictures bled me of vital energy. Life was intolerable.

Only in prayer did I glimpse moments of peace, especially while meditating on Ezekiel’s prophecy to the exiled Jews in Babylonia: I will give you a new heartand put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

Happily, the practice of Twelve-Step Recovery relieved some of my exile and empowered me to peak around the corners of denial. Through self-publishing two memoirs and posting blogs on heartwhisperings.com., I discovered the brilliance of my birthright. Hard work, admittedly, but one that has borne considerable fruit: never have I been happier. Then came my terminal illness and more surrender to God and the unknown. How would my newly won heart of flesh fare?

Yesterday, I began my twelfth month in hospice, together with the choice to blog the experience: each morning, germane subjects matched with inspiring photos emerged from my unconscious. My heart of flesh thrived, unbounded joy its talisman.

However, with the symptoms of my terminal illness worsening, glimmers of losing my body has ensnared my heart of flesh within denial’s thick walls/and very small windows. Infrequent are spurts of energy; in their place, fester weakness, shortness of breath, and exhaustion: the rigors of my new exile.

In faith, I again return to the prophet Ezekiel for sustenance. This, too, shall pass.