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At 6:40 A.M., I awoke with this hilarious dream:

I’m visiting a new friend in Rome, Italy, the October morning shadowing our steps toward the square thronged with shoppers. We buy food, then climb aboard her double-seated Vesta and set off for the day—a new experience for me.

In no time, we’re roaring down country roads, my friend’s thick blond hair snaking around her red helmet, the same color as her Vesta. Her heavyset body sways with the turns of the dirt roads, and I with her, holding her girth between my arms. Merriment exudes from her spirit like splashing spring waters. My mouth aches from laughter.

Beneath ancient water chestnut trees near an abandoned farm, we stop. The hilarity continues as she tears apart baguettes, then offers me Brie cheese, with red grapes and wine. Even the ravens, strut in tall grasses nearby.

The dream’s setting, Rome, Italy, suggested the center of Christianity into which I was initially enculturated until directed to search deeper for the Cosmic Christ in all of creation. Dire compliance of the rules and regulations no longer drew fire.

October morning spoke of bright aging filled with even deeper opportunities for learning prior to my transition.

The new friend revealed Precious God, disguised as a swarthy French laborer, intent upon opening me to the laughter of living: She smelled of earth. She swept the floors of my closed mind and threw open its grimy windows to another world, the one that awaits me. No longer was it appropriate to grieve my diminishment—just watch it happen and let it go. To strengthen my resolve, she also offered me communion. And she’s still in the driver’s seat.

Composing this blog still evokes laughter …

Like spent fire-works, emptiness stings consciousness; it creates new space and raises questions: whether to distract empty hearts or to reframe empty scenarios more congenial to our tastes or to accept what is, with grace. Multiple experiences of loss have always demand change, with subsequent satiation and depletion—The cycle is endemic to human nature.

At the same time, emptiness activates the multi-faces of grief today, and there is much to grieve about: the global pandemic and death, the cancel culture, CRT, little people smarting under dictatorships, the physically and spiritually malnourished, psychic unrest dulled with substances, the rancor of political divisions, the killings, and so much more. Such angst can undermine the still small voice within our depths; though not heard at times, we are never alone, even in the midst of dire suffering. It’s about humility, about accessing empowerment when all seems lost.

The Psalmist knew this as well as Job and they thrived; through them, we learn that life brilliances with unimaginable depths and shores up the faint of heart. We remain in God’s hands, no matter what’s coming down around us …

May, too, has its own snow, in the form of white seeded-fluff outside my study window; whispering breezes inch it along until lost in the grass or shrubs. Such transient beauty reminds me of long walks along the nearby creek where cottonwood trees flourish, the females yielding their seeds along the moist bank. Their heart-shaped leaves formed dense shade that often hushed me for the expected communion—It happened, amidst soft insects heralding life and tangled vines, immobile, from overhanging branches.

As spring’s cycle wanes the cottonwood seeding continues, littering the shredded seeds of oaks, maples, tulip trees mashed in gutters and sidewalks. From such destruction, greenness now wears a fresh fullness that will mature until stifled by harsh temperatures during the long months ahead.

Despite the stressed appearance of the natural world, new seeding, though buried, will again restore color to winter’s world. This remains our hope, and never has it been frustrated. 

So, too, with our bodies’ waning and death. Within it, we carry the seed of Eternal Life.

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