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She prays.

Slowly, her veined hand moves across his sunken chest. No longer is there a heartbeat. He is gone. Unfathomable peace suffuses his shriveled remains. Within that sacred moment she rests—fulfilled are her vows of almost seven years, pronounced that festive afternoon in their parish church where they had met at daily Mass, their snowy hair enhancing their flushed faces. Afterwards, merriment enlivened their white-tent reception filled with families and friends. It was all about love with its inherent sacrifices.

She prays.

Of little consequence, now, were his temper tantrums, rigid judgments, blaming—behaviors exacerbated by his Parkinson’s Dementia, three years into the marriage. Of little consequence was his frequent need in the middle of the night to pack his things in a pillowcase and go home. Of little consequence was his emptying the contents of the kitchen drawers into the refrigerator, of flooding the bathroom floor. Of little consequence was his violent reaction to placement in a skilled nursing facility, despite painstaking preparations. Now, he lives in eternal life and that’s all that matters.

She prays. Her eyes glisten.

Salted by keen suffering, she lives the mandate of Jesus Christ to be “the salt of the earth.”

Her name is Mary.

 

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The ground still shivers from the impact.

It happened during the pre-dawn hours, Friday morning, May 19, 2017. Lashing rains and winds felled the centuries-old oak tree alongside the serpentine driveway leading to the entrance of the Second Baptist Church in St. Louis, Missouri (established in 1831).

The exposed roots give pause: blunt scraggily remnants suggesting disease. More distress is also noted in the large swath of thumbnail-sized shells protruding from within deep grooves of the bark near the seven-foot base. Yet the leafy branches strewn on the ground give no clue to these disorders. Perhaps an arborist could have intervened, years ago.

To those sensitive to such events, the lesson is obvious.

In whom or in what are we rooted lest the storms of life topple us over?

 

 

Yes, there is another book out on Donald J. Trump, one that relates this phenomenon to the global epidemic of narcissism—admittedly a disturbing read. In my take, the book exposes this malignant crud incrementally poisoning the human psyche; its challenge is to recognize and transform our individual and collective narcissism—a tall order, indeed.

To facilitate this process, two psychiatrists Leonard Cruz and Steven Buser invited Jungian analysts, psychologists, and academics to contribute essays on narcissism that later evolved into A Clear and Present Danger – Narcissism in the Era of Donald Trump (2016). These essays evolved into a multifaceted picture of this disorder, with resonance in mythology, psychology, literature, relationships, gender, and world history. Ours is not the only era that has been adversely affected.

Against this background the authors also referenced Donald Trump, the then Republican candidate for the Oval Office and his supporters through depth psychology’s collective and personal unconscious; in both lie the roots of narcissism, a noxious energy that undermines relatedness and obliterates spirit in any expression. Such clarity afforded me a respite from the overwhelment that had been eating me alive.

However, the concluding essay by Clarissa Pinkola Estes lands the book on a positive note. We are precisely the leaders these dark times call for. Do not lose heart.

 

Available on Amazon

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