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Like spent fire-works, emptiness stings consciousness; it creates new space and raises questions: whether to distract empty hearts or to reframe empty scenarios more congenial to our tastes or to accept what is, with grace. Multiple experiences of loss have always demand change, with subsequent satiation and depletion—The cycle is endemic to human nature.

At the same time, emptiness activates the multi-faces of grief today, and there is much to grieve about: the global pandemic and death, the cancel culture, CRT, little people smarting under dictatorships, the physically and spiritually malnourished, psychic unrest dulled with substances, the rancor of political divisions, the killings, and so much more. Such angst can undermine the still small voice within our depths; though not heard at times, we are never alone, even in the midst of dire suffering. It’s about humility, about accessing empowerment when all seems lost.

The Psalmist knew this as well as Job and they thrived; through them, we learn that life brilliances with unimaginable depths and shores up the faint of heart. We remain in God’s hands, no matter what’s coming down around us …

Sunshine streaming through the Christmas holly shrub outside my bedroom window enlivened the wing back chair with sprightly shadows, on holiday. It was seven-thirty, morning. I blinked hard, checked my watch again, and grinned. Only moments before had I turned out the lamp and snuggled beneath the flannel sheets and comforter and began my mantra, “Passion of Christ, strengthen Malaysian women sexually abused on palm oil plantations.” Then, it had been nine o’clock.

Methodically, I began stretching exercises, upon my back, while reflecting upon this marvel of marvels: I had slept through the night. No dry mouth, no bathroom breaks, no hunger spells, no strong dreams, no elbow or foot pain, no worries about tomorrow—above all, not scrutinizing the hours of the clock, like the watchman in the psalm yearning for dawn and release from the menacing dark. Only flitting dream of helping others flitted in and out of awareness.

I recognized the gift of sleep and gave thanks for last night’s willingness to exercise, despite blithering fatigue. Perhaps, that’s what made the difference, or thrilling to Jules Massenet’s incidental music, or perhaps taking the “Cocktail,” for months, the same dose: 0.3 Morphine and 0.3 Lorazapan.

Whatever it was, I slept, and the sun seems brighter today.

Grief, reflected in the last blog, weighed my spirit for the remainder of the day. My brush with mortality still rankled. My body had been and still is the carrier of my spirit. Without my body, how would I interact with the world around me? It’s all I’ve ever known. And the months of new learning living with a terminal illness—How would that continue? Or would it? I felt like a helium balloon, hovering over the sidewalk, swayed by lackluster breezes.

Last evening’s phone meeting with my CPA buddies just happened to focus upon grief with its emotional and intellectual implications. I was still socked within its strictures; its snug fit rendered me powerless. How I welcomed the oblivion of sleep, if sleep would come

But it did, immediately, and without medication.

From my psyche, emerged the feathery outline of this dream:

A nearby funeral home was waking a friend, whose loss attracted numerous mourners, I among them. While I stood in line to offer condolences to her family, I noticed a silver-haired neighbor listening to a couple, his soft gray eyes following each word, his clean-shaven jaw slack. His contemplative manner had drawn my attraction in the past, but no opportunity for our meeting had ever occurred. I was content to let him find me if we were supposed to meet.

 It seemed like delicious hours passed in his presence. Eventually the lounge of the funeral home faded—only this loving man remained, though distant from me. When I awoke ten hours later, gone was the heaviness that had snagged me in bondage. I was free again, and would be, until next shocked by my body’s certain demise.

Only Precious God knows when.


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