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“Deadly Brinkmanship,” so describes a journalist’s take on Putin’s reputation as he threatens Ukrainian cities of chemical, biological, cyber, or nuclear weapons—”on special combat readiness”—As well as other nations that support his siege. Sounds like the bully across the lot, his slingshot aimed at the munchkin with the torn jacket giggling behind his back.

So, it’s about power ripped out of context like a sizzling electrical current gone haywire. This has happened before. History bristles with war; many have suffered losses of limb and life and identity, only to rebuild with innovative change and to start families within communities. Such upheavals evoke fresh courage and vision.

Those who do not survive, transition to other realms, their spirits afresh with lightness and emboldened by Jesus’s promise in the gospel of Matthew:

…And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Faith and trust in the Cosmic Christ liken us to the munchkin with the refreshing smile. Putin and his “Deadly Brinkmanship” disintegrate within the big picture of salvation—another figurehead wearing slick aviator shoes; some with pumps so as to appear taller.

From the distance, they watched a bloodied pulp, two-inch thorns squashed into his head, lugging a crossbeam over his shoulder, its end zigzagging a dusty trail up a steep hill. Hecklers, spitters, and garbage throwers, exacerbated the mayhem. Spiteful crows cawed, circling above the coming feast.

There were women watching, a handful as far as we know, their veiled heads shielding the noon sun, their dark eyes stinging with dry pain, their revulsion provoking gags. Perhaps men stood further away and gripped their guts.

Today, others are also watching—not just a handful but the planet Earth: you and me, our neighbors, everyone feels the atrocities meted upon the Ukrainians, people like ourselves wanting a peaceful, productive life. Such watching bores deep trenches of psychic powerlessness, of frenzy toward the Evil threats lobed upon us, in the fourth week of conflict.

Like those watching the Man of Sorrows on that barren hillside—He has been there—prayer permeated their angst. So not to lose heart …  

Around 7 A.M., I awoke with this dream of direction:

I was visiting Mother Scott, an old nun, in the convent parlor, the late afternoon sun slanting through the double hung windows onto the highly polished parquet floor. “Liz, I want you to have this bible. It was my sister’s,” she said, smoothing her black veil over her shoulder. From the recesses of the cushions supporting her back, she withdrew the bible draped in black cloth and handed it to me. Its faded cover and onion-skin thin pages touched me as I said goodbye.

This dream supports a recently-made decision to return to my Jerusalem Bible, a Christmas gift from my parents in 1965. Like the bible in the dream, its yellowing pages, its worn cover, its shrunken red ribbon marker, mine was a daily companion that illustrates significant moments of my spiritual quest, noted by comments, dates, stars, highlighting, at times, in orange. However, with my AA recovery work drawing me into its literature, I shelved my Jerusalem Bible, until now.

Mother Scott, an old nun, my extraverted shadow,was a distant cousin and a member of the community I used to belong to. Her listening evoked my conflicted decision to enter the Kenwood Noviceship to become a nun, like her. But unlike her, I did not stay, but remained long enough to explore the depth of my spirituality that has been ongoing.

And within the experience of my end time returns Mother Scott, with another bible to study the implications of the Cosmic Christ. I’m in good company.

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