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Outside my study window, a shivering branch catches my attention: upon it has alighted a plump tree sparrow, its short beak foraging for insects. Upon its sandy-colored head and thin striped tail feathers, the morning sun plays like a child messing with finger-paints: shadows and light kiss. In no hurry, the sparrow’s foraging continues, as also its twittering enlivening my backyard: a microcosm for what occurs in many parts of the world.

But who has time to look? To enjoy, the myriad gifts freely offered in our daily bread? Certainly, matters of extreme urgency had filled much of my earlier life.

Only during Gloucester retreats did my inner chatter cease, and the seascape come alive with the message of Jesus: Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?

So the tree sparrow continues carrying the message of feeding. I have only to look out my study window to be filled—and the nourishment is always different.

Around 2 A. M., I woke with this piece of a patriot’s dream:

I am in the American Revolutionary War.

Only this fact remained. No story accompanied it, but it’s still something to work with.

My recent completion of David McCullough’s John Adams (2001) and 1776 (2005) opened my psyche to the conflicted beginnings of America, culminating in the bloody war for independence from Great Britain; it dragged on for seven years. No wonder my Dreamer came up with this fact, given my present waiting.

Evidently, my life instinct wars in my unconscious, in view of the newly discovered riches of existence that I’m loathe to leave. In solitude and silence, I’ve learned to see with my heart. Surprises abound. More of God’s face shimmers upon the unexpected, like the torn leaf of the London plane tree outside my kitchen window, its rift increasing with September winds. Such tingles my core and begs for more.

So what about my role in the American Revolutionary War? The Dreamer seems to want me to figure it out. Two options open before me: a fierce combatant against Creator God and His will for me, with greed demanding more than my eighty-five years of life. Or a patriot decimating psychic entities wanting my death before it happens and keeping me alert at my word processor, despite the heaviness of my symptoms. I choose the latter.

Long ago, I was told, “Keep writing into wholeness!”—No matter what happens.

At 7:15 A. M., I awoke with this Step One Dream:

I’m planning my special dessert for guests invited to my home later in the day. The ingredients call for two-to-three feet of newly fallen snow and pots filled with melted chocolate chips. Everything is ready. I go out to my backyard and dribble hot chocolate syrup over the snow, then begin mixing the concoction with a wooden paddle.  To my horror, the snow congeals the chocolate into hard bits. I’m furious.

A departure from yesterday’s dream, this one reveals, in Jungian terms, shadow material: unwonted behaviors and attitudes and so much more that lurk within the darkness of my psyche. In dreams, such disorders are symbolically brought to consciousness for my review. Such was this morning’s dream.

I’m planning suggests total control and obsession to please my guests with the dessert of all desserts that will enjoin their adulation upon my low esteem. I will feel alive. Nothing about the ingredients seems unusual: two-to-three feet of newly fallen snow that suggests frigidity, unyieldingness, and unwillingness to relate to people, places, and things; and melted chocolate chips, the mood-changer with their caffeinated kick.

The wooden paddle becomes the tool to whip this delicacy into shape, rather than chill my arthritic hands. The hard bits were not supposed to happen and trigger blinding rage. 

On yet a deeper level, this dream plunges me into the unmanageability of Step One: my bargaining with Precious God—if I come up with an unheard of sweetness for my guests, including Him, then I’ll be rewarded with a longer stay in this existence. But my plan fails and decades of repressed rage bite me in the ass.

Besides carrying this rage to subsequent steps in CPA for its removal, I pray with the Psalmist: “From my hidden sins, O Lord, deliver me.” Psalm 19:12

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