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I smiled recording this dream in the pre-dawn hour:

I’m pleasantly surprised by the recently completed renovations on the lower floor of a century-old house. Crews had knocked down several walls and created a spacious open area for multi-purpose living. Only cleanup of carpenter dust, decoration, and furnishing remained before a family could move in.

In the dream the lower floor suggests a deep place in my psyche that teems with life; it precludes consciousness, bolsters willingness to receive inner guidance, receives new roots, and grows. Only therein can be found ultimate truth.

The renovations support my clearing out the non-essential in my present life and paradoxically filling me with fresh options for being and becoming. The crews bespeak the multiple helpers, in sync with my hospice path, who keep me focused. Of necessity, walls of prejudice and shortsightedness had to be demolished. Much has already been accomplished, and only sprucing up remains, or so it seems.

Such clearing is God’s work; its intent flames my psyche to what is and what is to come, both here and hereafter.

 

 

 

Kids inflated with assumed identities of princesses, Incredible Hulks, and Minions will again traipse through our neighborhoods this Halloween. Winds will nip ankles, flit crisped leaves across lawns beneath a waxing crescent moon; porch lights will invite Knock Knock jokes. With encroaching darkness, the drama will deepen.

Perhaps you’ve also worn a mask for such haunts when a kid or for Mardi Gras carnivals, parties? Watched masked performers in plays or rituals of native peoples?

You are not alone. Peoples from cultures all over the world have donned masks for such purposes. The oldest one, made of stone, dates back to 7000 B.C., the Pre-ceramic Neolithic period; it is kept in the Bible and Holy Land Museum in Paris, France.

But there is another way of considering masks.

Many small children, bereft of nurturing, develop masks or defense mechanisms that thwart later significant relationships. Psychic pain leads them to seek out consulting rooms of psychologists or other helpers and begin the painful process of owning their masks, discarding them, and developing psychic boundaries. For the first time in their lives, they discover their Source and begin listening for directives. They and those around them thrive.

I know. With much help, I’ve discarded my mask; it graces the bookshelf in my study and reminds me where I’ve been and of more work to be done.

Happy Halloween!

 

Orphans, in real life or within literature and film, evoke squeamish feelings. Blistered by abandonment, the fabric of their known world unravels around their muddied shoes—if they have them. Nothing works. But there are exceptions.

One of these unfolds within the historical novel, The Girl from the Train (2015) written by South African, Irma Joubert. From the first page, the plight of Gretl, a German Jew, alarms us. What will become of this thin waif, sole survivor of the open cattle cars packed with hundreds of Jews enroute to Auschwitz?

I’m not afraid, Gretl thinks… I’m brave…” She rolls into a ball upon the forest floor and waits until daylight. Yes, think about other things, she adds. That’s what Oma used to say.

With pluck, she sets out for the creek, the sun warming her back. She listens. She waits for the next development. Then she’ll know what to do.

A chance meeting with the Polish metallurgist Jacob quickens her heart; he becomes “family,” the support she needs to continue engaging the world around her. Her resiliency and groundedness, enhanced by her fluency in German and Polish and Russian, endear her to many.

Such stories serve as correctives for our own childhood abandonment, never far from consciousness; its wound spirits us toward deeper compassion for our humanness, within the grace of a merciful God. Psychic growth abounds. That’s why we’re here …

 

 

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