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A night of multiple dreams from which I recorded these:

2:30 A.M.

It is a balmy night, fireworks illuminating the sky. A festival is underway filled with people of all ages and backgrounds. Their merry-making attracts me.

7:30 A.M.

It is winter, the ground frozen and ice-covered. Lethargic and dispirited, I’m visiting a home care patient in the city who resembles me, not only in appearance but also in behaviors. She does not have much to say. Readmitted to the hospital for the recurrence of her infection, she remains aloof to my offer of prayer. I again visit her upon her discharge home. This time, she asks me to drive with her to her mother’s home. We head outdoors, mindful of our steps lest we slip and fall.

 Both dreams speak from my psyche’s shadowy depths. The first dream seems to counter Minneapolis’s fifth night of rioting and looting, further demoralizing our country with senseless torching of businesses and terrorizing surrounding neighborhoods. Such evil, however vicious, passes with the emergence of daylight and the resiliency of those afflicted. Humbled, tearful, leaning upon strength not their own, they carry forward their story for everyone’s learning: there’s vibrant life despite unjust systems.

The dream also suggests fresh grace of multiple colors, alive and well in my psyche, thrilled by my home-going in the company of others.

In the second dream, my psyche is frozen, inert, stifled by irreversible symptoms and attitudes that mess with acceptance of my dying body. In this story as chaplain, I’m still in control as I sit with this lackluster patient, another image of myself, better served if left alone to find her own God. More pain and suffering will eventually break apart defense mechanisms and open her psyche to radical healing. This has been my experience in hospice, and such will accompany my last breath.

Such dreams prod deeper faith in my spiritual awakening that’s working out, one day at a time. I’m grateful.

 

 

At times, I falter before the enormity of my coming transition. Hospice authors frame it within the verb, cowering—craven fear. Yet, it’s coming. More symptoms attest to this reality, and my body is imperceptibly failing. Because Twelve Step practice, meditation, and blogging have brought this experience home, my faith feels grounded like a pair of sturdy Oxfords. Six months of hospice care have also enhanced this new learning.

To my delight, I continue receiving nudges for the next blog to compose, and with it, new vistas to explore. This one moved me:  

 Knock upon yourself as on a door, and walk upon yourself as on a straight road. For if you walk on that road, you cannot get lost, and what you open for yourself will open.

…from the non-canonical Gospel of Thomas, filled with Gnostic sayings of Jesus Christ among first-century Christians—It was found among thirteen leather-bound papyrus codices buried in a sealed jar in a cave near Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in 1945.

 

 

This saying amplifies an earlier one found in Matthew’s gospel 7:7-8:

…Knock and the door will be opened to you…For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

 This pair of similar sayings engages seekers differently: Matthew’s directs their needs toward Jesus Christ for fulfillment; whereas, Thomas’s, toward the seekers themselves whose spirits, already blessed, have everything they need to maneuver their tangled humanness. To access this grace, humble prayer is a critical prerequisite.

So I’ll keep knocking upon myself/door and walking the straight road, wearing my sturdy Oxfords. It’s already been working…

This morning’s dream tumbled into consciousness for my review:

I just finished knitting a white cardigan, using a pattern to incorporate intricate designs on the sleeves, then added pearl buttons. It occurred to me that the cardigan would fit my sister Martha, short in stature. I offer the cardigan to her, a perfect fit. She is delighted.

The dream suggests Twelve Step recovery in my psyche.

Implicit within the dream was planning for the task: the image of what I wanted to knit, the pattern, sufficient yarn and knitting needles, measuring tape, scissors, and a quiet workspace. Sufficient time, willingness, and patience also featured into the plan. Occasional mistakes required ripping lines of yarn from the needle and referring back to the pattern. Yet with each knit or pearl stitch, the cardigan grew, as did my enthusiasm.

Before embracing Twelve Step work such focus would have been impossible. Planning was a waste of time. Free-floating anxiety precluded following directions or correcting mistakes, unfinished projects stuffed in drawers and forgotten. Too impatient to ask for help, it was my way, or no way.

Also of note in the dream is the thought of my sister Martha. When enmeshed in my diseases of alcoholism and chronic pain and illness, it was rare that I thought of others. Symptoms devoured my outlook on life, and self-pity, a constant irritant.

Once enlisted in Higher Power’s care through Steps One, Two, and Three, however, I discovered new facets of my humanness: Relationships were not to be skirted, nor hardships, denied, even living with a terminal illness.

 

 

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