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At 4 a.m., nerve pain in my foot, a recent symptom, roused me from this dream:

It is afternoon, in the city of St. Louis. I happen to meet a woman who I’ve not seen in a long time. She greets me with enthusiasm and tells me about her black friend and their participation in MSM, located in the county. She advises me to join them, that it will change my life as it has theirs.

This daylight dream suggests a new endeavor to add to my already more than full days. The urgency in the woman’s tone of voice compels me to look up MSM; its initials stand for the Mark Slay Ministries. In 1997, he had founded the Miracle Revival Church in Kirkwood, Missouri, an interdenominational Gospel community, still holding services on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

The dream also references two women, a dyad in Jungian psychology. They stand united in their transforming experience and wish the same for me.

Further mulling over the dream prompts me to return to the study of Scriptures, usually experienced during Gloucester retreats where I could give full vent to Spirit and not get too carried away. It is about finding Jesus, afresh, in my present circumstances.

As I used to do in my room in Gloucester, I’ll sit by Joseph’s well (John 4: 1 -26) and see who joins me.

 

For forty years, my friend Pat and I have been enjoying succulent fare at St. Louis restaurants, as well as sharing fresh insights into relationships, trends, the geopolitical scene, and the Sacred. Life has worked its rigors upon us, left us wiser, more compassionate. The tone of our voices manifests this transformation.

And so this afternoon we stopped at Pan d’Olive Restaurant—a Bite of Mediterranean: my first time using portable oxygen. Tables of four buzzed with animation: two birthday celebrations of seniors, hearty laughter, and juicy aromas evoking appetites—a slice of vibrant living that warmed me as I took a seat next to the shaded window.

In no time, an aproned waiter with black hair brought us plates of grilled salmon served upon cabbage stew in a garlic lemon sauce with capers, reminiscent of my 1998 tour of the Greek islands.

Indeed, a bittersweet tone underscored our sharing that touched on families, wellness, aging issues, the D.C. and global scenes, and significant books. Absent was our usual repartee. Solicitude for my circumstances tensed her forehead. She had said to her family, “Just you watch—Liz’ll be around next Thanksgiving.” Yet the little blue pill, still maintaining my functioning, did relieve some of her concern.

I welcomed her hand steadying my arm as we walked to her car, the afternoon sun casting long shadows ahead of us: within the shadow, deeper acceptance of the unacceptable.

 

Drizzle hiccoughs through lowering clouds that resemble circus elephants at play.

Occasional splats on my slicker intrude upon the stillness and quicken my breathing. Languid breezes muss my hair, and my nose twitches with smells of musk. Alive to the freshness around me, I pause.

A solitary crow caws, as it flaps its wings against the leaden sky and soars to the upper reaches of an evergreen. Ahead of me, the slick asphalt road snakes around the bend, lined with a grove of yellow bamboo. Heaps of luminous leaves by the curb, their stems upended, smack of exhausted gymnasts after a tournament. A few whole acorns, unlike others crunched by passing cars, draw the toe of my sandal.

I resume walking, slowly—So much to take in—In the distance looms a mustard- yellow maple; from its brown-to-black-divided trunk articulate mothering branches that offer more inspiration, more protection—Droplets hug shriveled leaves of shrubs—A calico cat darts for cover in a nearby yard—Glistening jack-o-lanterns grin from front porches, and spent chrysanthemums brown and list sideways in gardens.

In every cell of my being subtle rhythms resonate: within them, I surrender, anew, to the multiple changes occurring within and around me. I give thanks.

 

 

 

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