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At 6 A.M., I woke with this dream:

It is August, the evening of my arrival at the Eastern Point Retreat House for my eight-day directed retreat. Animated conversations of other retreatants draw me to the dining room for buffet supper. I search among them for my friend Pat, but she has not yet arrived. I’m concerned. Winds sweep dense levels of humidity from the Atlantic’s surface that borders the complex. I feel clammy, heavy.

At first, the dream’s setting, EPRH, thrilled me, the Jesuit retreat house that I had frequented for decades at Gloucester, Massachusetts. Profound spiritual cleansings had buoyed my spirit, until home for a while; and the emergence of entrenched habits resumed their former dominance.  

Then, I looked deeper into my psyche: Animated conversations of other retreatants exposedthe seepage of inner chatter, warring against my practice of meditation and spiritual reading that blocks “conscious contact” with Higher Power. This had been true at Gloucester, as well; only within its silence could I settle down to fully engage in its critical work, guided by my director.

In my present circumstances, I yearn for the same depth of silence in my psyche. This is not happening as much as I would like. I feel clammy, heavy. My body has never died before and I need guidance in prayer and from other spiritually minded persons. Yet, control still has mastery, despite my practice of CPA’s Twelve Steps; though, such sparring does yield spiritual growth. Time is of the essence.

In the dream I also noted anxiety over the absence of my friend, as if unable to surrender to the grace of the retreat that necessitates psychic change. This image speaks to existential loneliness, casting me adrift in powerlessness. Therein, I eventually find my God who companions me through end time. No one else can serve this purpose.

So I plod along, one day at a time …

It was last Sunday morning, around 7:30 A.M., when this dream startled me:

It is evening. I am alone, leaving a conference room, my arms filled with notebooks and texts. As I make my way down the empty corridor toward the garage, I feel great weakness consuming me. My legs feel rubbery. Terrified, I look for someone or some thing to hold on to. I am crumpling, the carpeted floor fast approaching me.

 The dream alerted me to my true circumstances, having barely managed my self-care, the previous day. I needed more help to remain safely in my home and reluctantly made the necessary arrangements, given my penchant for solitude.

During the following week, the hospice nurse and chaplain visited, recognized my deepening weakness and shortness of breath, then ordered medical equipment and supplies to convert my bedroom into a sick room. My end time seemed eminent. Accordingly, I took to my wonderful bed, never moving about on my wheeled walker unless supervised. My strengthening and deep breathing exercise ceased.

With my power of attorney, I also finalized the last of my business, notified my lawyer, broker, and accountant of this change that may or may not lead to the death of my body at this time. Family, friends, and neighbors were also advised, unleashing torrents of love and prayer. All seemed ready, but for what? When?

Then, my sister Martha arrived from out of state and for the past two days we laughed and shared stories, as only sisters can do.

And this evening’s phone call with a CPA buddy helped me understand the emotional bottom from which I’m emerging, that such experiences can occur before the last one that leads to the death of the body. So just relax when the next one comes and ride it out.

So, reduced to zero energy, more short of breath, I’m adjusting to the new normal with spirited round-the-clock helpers. My blogs will continue, as I am able …

I did piss others when I cancelled the hospital bed and other equipment—perhaps for a later time.

It’s happened again! For the fourteenth year a single gold crocus has sprung from the mulch in my flowerbed, the morning sun glossing its cup-shaped petals. Nothing delicate about its thrust within the still wintry world: its gold, regal in authority, its grass-like leaf with a white central stripe pulsating gladness—sort of like Precious God winking at me as I move through these days of discernment.

Others, the world over, have thrilled with the blooming of crocuses. Even as far back as King Solomon (970 – 931 B.C.E.) who likened the Bride in his Song of Songs 2:1 to the gold crocus. Such fascination conceivably nudged it into the symbol for spring and the eschatological age. Central to both is regeneration.

Like shy lovers, pale greenings peek beneath winter’s barrenness and delight dog-walkers and toddlers. Energy has returned—no stopping it until months later when it weakens, and death cycles through again.

However, the eschatological age, characterized by the end of history, the resurrection of the dead, the Last Judgment, and the messianic era, knows no death.

Religions’ sacred texts seek to pierce these stark realities, wrap words around the unknowable, and inflame the imaginations of the faithful. We stand within the ultimate of mysteries.

Despite the profundity of these symbols, we can still glean hints of what is to come. At least, this has been my experience shadowing my end time with daily blogs. New learning abounds and there’s no indication of its end.

Imagine relishing gold crocuses that do not fade and wither!


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