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This is what I will tell my heart, and so recover hope: the favors of Yahweh are not all passed, his kindnesses are not exhausted. They are renewed every morning. Lamentations 3:21-22

We will never know who inserted these prophetic words into the Third Lamentation, with its heart rendering images: Jerusalem’s desolation at the hands of the Chaldeans, the spoliation of the Temple, and the exile and starvation of its people that occurred in 587 B.C.E. But this shift in tone bespeaks awareness of sin, compunction of heart, a need for forgiveness, and memory of Yahweh’s former graciousness.

And later in Third Lamentation we hear, Yahweh, I called on your name from the pit… crying…You came near that day…and said, “Do not be afraid.”

Such prophetic texts like those in the Book of Lamentations still bolster flagging spirits and offer insight into the mystery of iniquity. As dastardly as it appears, its stinking offal is not what it seems: its admission restores us to the fullness of Life, even now.

Steeped in pitfalls of my humanness for long decades, I find myself like the Jews, familiar with misery…in darkness, and without any light. But such psychic bottoms break apart with grace, freely given and received, together with the invitation to give thanks for yet another deliverance through CPA’s Steps VI and VII.

So morning’s light streams into darkness: It reconfigures bones, brilliances psyches, and romps with hope into the next moment.

 

This morning’s nun dream gave me considerable pause:

 It is evening, spring. Hundreds of nuns have gathered at a large convent for a supper meeting with their new Provincial. Conversations buzz, last minute preparations fall into place, some finger rosary beads. For days, I have been responsible for ordering and overseeing the preparation of the steamed vegetables for the meal. I was still uneasy, fearful of asking for help. The Superior and her entourage greet everyone as they stream into the refectory and take their places. To my dismay, I notice a serpentine mushy-like, pale green thing inching along the hardwood floor, its head moving with each twist of its body. “Is that asparagus?” I ask.

 The dream story mirrors another shameful experience in 1966 when I was a recently professed nun, overwhelmed by joint pain, loneliness, and desperately seeking attention. Then, arrangements of tiger lilies for the refectory tables, cut that morning by the creek bed, had died.

So what does this dream signify in my present circumstances? It must have something to do with that serpentine mushy-like, pale green thing: Shocking in its repulsiveness. I liken it to asparagus, its gyrating phallic form like something you might encounter in Kafkaesque imagination.

That I’m so unnerved by this glob of glistening tissue suggests its emergence from my unconscious shadow: The scum of unacceptable character defects that still dominate my choices and thoughts and keep me in bondage. Thus my CPA 12 Step work continues, one day at a time …

 

 

At midnight, a bathroom break woke me to this dream:

I accepted an invitation to join equestrians for a formal foxhunt located in a rural area. No matter that I’ve never done this before. For the occasion, I rent an outfit: black velvet helmet, a white long-sleeved show shirt, white stock tie with pin, canary yellow vest, dark blue frock coat, buff breeches, black leather dress boots, and black leather gloves. That morning, the sky alive with sunshine, I look handsome, astride a chestnut mare as I wait for others to arrive at the stables.

 My Dreamer invites me to participate in foxhunting, a sport that demands athleticism and skill, neither of which I’ve ever cultivated. But I know not to decline. Another helps outfit me in the formal attire of a hunter, a persona that hides my inexperience from more seasoned riders. Still another gift of the sure-footed mare, my knees hugging its flanks, my buttocks sensing its instinctual energy, stokes my confidence. I will do this.

But the question remains—What is this?

 Foxhunts meld equestrians within sustained danger edged in exhilaration: Hound dogs yelp, horses strain over uneven terrain, thundering hooves taking the next fence in hot pursuit of the red fox. Only with unwavering attention will the hunt continue. The stakes are high.

It seems my Dreamer urges this hunt for my beleaguered body: Like the red fox, it needs gentling once caught—no more hiding in the burrow of self-absorption and dissociation. Only with CPA’s 12 Steps have I the Hunter-persona to deal with this, one day at a time.

 

 

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