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I smiled recording this dream:

It is sunny, late afternoon. The events of Field Day are winding down, and with it, the end of the school term. A festive air animates hundreds of students, their families, and the teaching staff. As I stroll along the grounds I am grateful for my co-workers. A male teacher greets me, cups his hands around my face, and thanks me for my help. Jeannie Dunn, the school’s athlete, stops by and speaking in breathless tones, tells me of her last event: a thirty-minute run around the perimeter of the school grounds. Then she takes off.

 In the dream it was Field Day, suggestive of daily play with my word processor. The setting felt like the all-girls academy I had worked in as a young nun: a complex of stone buildings set upon rolling hills, surrounded by black and white oak trees; its beauty and orderliness suggested the present container for my spirit in which I thrive. Whole in body and spirit, I have been healed of many fissures that had crippled me. The male teacher’s intimate gesture spoke of the loving kindness deep in my psyche that desires communion. And Jeannie Dunn suggested my ongoing fitness related to this critical work.

No wonder my smile! The dream feels compensatory: a reversal of what had occurred when teaching as a young nun, hobbled by multiple psychophysical issues. Such stories release festering failures from the past and affirm the direction of my present life path. My play only deepens.

 

Skeletal fingers disembowel fevered spirits, agonizing for a fix before the next holiday bash—and there are many, in the glitziest of venues. Desperation sours puke, hiccoughs frenzy the chest, joints scream in pain. Too chicken-hearted to opt for death, there seems no way out.

But there is—for those willing to change. It’s all about waking up to the full implications of our humanness, rife with loss. Within such losses that knee us before a Power greater than ourselves, we sense a faint voice emerging from our depths: so unlike the carping one with the bullwhip. We sink back on our haunches. We listen. Tears pool our eyes. Chests stop heaving. Hands fold in prayer. Something akin to peace surfaces like a fragrant lotus blossom: its glossy pink bespeaks Joy.

And then it’s over. Still on our haunches, we slip to the floor and prostate ourselves beneath the mantel of silence. We have been visited and we know it, but its memory mandates action.

Nothing left for us but to pick up our cell and call for help. It’s out there, even during the holidays.

 

Whups! I look closer and flip on the light, then blink several times into the mirror above the bathroom sink. More wrinkling on the sides of my mouth gives me the appearance of an angry crone; only with a broad grin does she vanish. And puffy pastiness spooks my eyes, a condition that suggests sleepless nights that rarely occur.

Then I remember my age and sink back upon my heels. For years I have been smoothing blush upon my sallow cheeks before social engagements lest others be alarmed by my cadaver-like complexion. All of this makes me vulnerable to cheerful come-ons to try this or that rejuvenation cream.

After marveling at the youthful complexion of Kate Middleton during Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding, I looked up her product, BB Cream Golden Glow, she has been touting, worldwide, much to the dismay of the Royals. The compound of water, cyclopentasiloxane, octyldodecanol, dimethicone, and glycerin promises a healthy glow effect with just the right hint of illumination, offers immediate and long-term hydrating benefits, protects skin from premature aging and environmental stresses, and promotes skin regeneration. Just the product for me, I mused!

However, I scrolled down further and learned that a twenty-ounce-jar of BB Cream Golden Glow costs $393.

Yet, my heart of hearts knows the utter foolishness of all of this. Only earnest obedience to the consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29) within our shadowy depths brings about this glow. In this daily dying, we find ultimate life. It’s always been that way.

 

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