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Helpful counsel from a seasoned man buoys the sacred work underway in my psyche: His name is Pierre Teillard de Chardin, French Jesuit Theologian and Scientist (1881-1955).

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
In front of the unknown, we are impatient. We should like to skip the intermediate stages and reach the end of everything.

Yet the law of progress mandates passing through stages of instability—of uncertain duration.

Only God can say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will become.
Believe that His hand is leading you and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete. It will pass.

I will be more than delighted when it will pass: difficulty breathing, continual use of Oxygen, nightly cocktails/drugs with side effects, increasing weakness, exhaustion, brain fog, occasional slurred speech, and dependence upon walker and cane. Helping me through each twenty-four hours are my spirited helpers and their hugs.

Despite the tangle of symptoms, my days flit by seamlessly like insects drawn to candle flame. I have little choice of what to let go of; it just happens, on the heels of acceptance—And with each acceptance, more of who I am becoming. And just as I had no say in the pre-birth development in my mother’s womb, so, too, I’ve none in its final formation. I bow to another Artist, at work, fashioning my birth into eternal life, for that’s what it feels like.

Daylight’s color and form give some stasis for this process, but eruptions of impatience during nights dismantles me even further and compels holding on to this vision of Teillard de Chardin. It helps.

 

I’m uneasy with another corrective dream:

It is night. A former classmate hosts a lavish party. The commotion of music, chatter, shrill laughter, and tinkling glasses of bubbly wines unnerves me. In no way is significant conversation possible. Then, Rachelle, one of the guests, takes possession of the dance floor, with solo gyrations in sync with the music. Clown-like circles of rouge cover her pasty cheeks. A narrow black belt nips her waist like twine on the end of a sausage link, over which her red blouse and navy skirt jiggle in fleshy folds.

I cringe as I record this dream with its recurring theme: chronic noise of my own making that blocks significant learning from Higher Power, that plunges me in painful isolation.

As in other dreams incorporated in this blog, night suggests the culmination of the day’s activities, or on a deeper level, the end of time. With increased symptoms of my terminal illness an undeniable fact, such dreams warrant close attention.

The lavish party speaks of my being dressed to the nines, feigning smiles, and being miserably bored, not unlike attending such gatherings in younger years.

That there is a Rachelle in my psyche gives me great pause. Like the wildness of my obsessive thoughts under cheap carnival lights, Rachelle high steps, twists and twirls, claps ringed hands above her horsehair wig, yells piecemeal lyrics. There’s no stopping her. Her garish make-up, her tasteless attire, her aging body gone to seed, and her self-absorption—all revolt me. Yet, she reflects multiple shadow issues I’ve accumulated through decades of mindless living.

But Rachelle is also my teacher as I deal with the inevitable diminishment and death of my old body. It doesn’t take much to set off such protest-racket that further worsens my breathing.

Whenever Rachelle surfaces, I’ve work to do.

 

 

The doorbell rings.

Behind the screen door stands my plumber Rob, the beak of his cap shielding the morning sun from his eyes. I smile, knowing I am in good hands, skillful and sinewy. For years he has kept my kitchen and bathroom in good repair. More significant than his skill, though, are his cheerful manner, his willingness to address any problem, and solutions are found within the drawers of his battered toolbox or the compartments of his van. Unlike other plumbers I have had, he also wipes up watery streaked floors with paper towels that he carries with him, then disposes them.

On a deeper level, I view Rob’s lifelong profession from a spiritual perspective. Instead of wearing a suit and tie to work, he pulls on clean jeans, a red T-shirt, canvas shoes, this morning’s attire. Instead of scrutinizing proposals in boardrooms, he studies clogged sinks, leaking faucets. Instead of lunching at gourmet restaurants, he snacks in his truck, in between customers. Instead of ordering state-of-the-art adornments, he replaces worn fixtures or makes others serviceable. Such humble work has etched Rob’s servant-character, not unlike Jesus, beautiful to behold.

On an even deeper level, I liken Rob’s knack of cleaning up stinking messes and restoring water flow with Spirit’s action in human hearts, gone amuck with disorders. The process can be complicated, costly, even exhausting, but with the restoration of the flow of grace/water, exhilarating life returns in its myriad colors.

The Spirit-Plumber is still working on me.

 

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