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It was 7:20 A.M., and again an engaging dream wanted my recall—most unusual because long weeks have passed with no dream stories that glimpse the milieu of my psyche, no cues that still needed work for my transition. This morning’s glimpse goes like this:

I’ve traveled to the Southwest for the weekend gathering of artists, their handcrafted ware displayed beneath tents in a grassy meadow. Adjacent to this area are classes offered in the crafting of the displayed articles: weaving, pottery, cooking, leather working, jewelry, especially turquoise, drawing and painting. I join the hundreds moving slowly among the exhibits. I’m itching to try something new and find myself welcomed by the weaver, a Native American with strong knowing hands. The final evening, she informs the students which of their works they can take with them.

In my perception, the Southwest represents a centuries-old world of warmth, intimate with nature: like an incubator, it served its primitive people with rich imaginations who storied their gods, then etched them upon cave and rock drawings. Such icons still breathe fierceness. There’s much to learn here.

The seasoned artists at this gathering who have mastered their craft, suggest submersion into the waters of Life. To express their passion, they’ve overcame obstacles, endured ridicule, and scrimped and saved to support themselves. Their hand-crafted ware triggers potential artists to do similarly. And because of this self-imposed discipline, they’re willing to teach others.

The weaver, a Native American with strong knowing hands, suggests God in disguise, a critical life teacher who will help me weave together the final version of my odds and ends, still to be incorporated into the Elizabeth of my birthright.

I’m a work in progress …

“This is more than I can handle,” said the floor nurse looking down at me, her meaty arms drawing me toward her full bosom, her faded scrubs suggesting years of experience. “Let’s call upon the Lord. He’ll help us get what you need for that pain.” Her words wrapped soothing compresses around psychic wounds and multiple fractures, caused by tripping over my vacuum cleaner. My body felt like a ruined city. This occurred in June 2017.

The compassion of that floor nurse opened me to an enfleshed Sacred moment that companied my terror, one of several spaced through my long life. Such experiences, then and now, afford me a lens through which to view Creator God’s involvement with us, moment by moment, as Ukraine’s nightmare stokes global angst and analysis.

Within the carnage, within towns fed into shredders, within the resolve of two million Ukrainian emigrants, within the Russian “slow down,” appears the age-old conflict between good and evil: It’s always been there, re-forming planet Earth’s landscape and history. Throttled nations still rebuild upon ashes of grief; individuals regroup; work start-ups abound until some normalcy appears—for however long.

Yet, despite restored cities—Old Town Munich is one example—the seven deadly sins still hide out in psyches, fomenting irritation, restlessness, and discontent. Power becomes god and governments become inflated and armed conflict ensues. Between 1946 and 2012, the Uppsala Conflict Data Program has recorded thirty-two such conflicts, with deaths, around the world, as found in the Journal of Peace Research.

Still, Creator God’s compassion for the work of his hands promotes healing and restoration for everyone who wishes. The global prayer for Ukraine intensifies. I repeat again: What’s really behind the Russian “slow-down?” 

In the ancient world, potsherds, the broken remains of pots, corresponded to today’s nuisance of plastic; like plastic, the sherds were everywhere, either discarded by their owners or left in the aftermath of wars or natural disasters.

Once broken and patched, the pot could only store dry goods. Water, wines, oils, critical to sustain life, demanded intact vessels.

It should be no surprise that the commonplace sherd was often used metaphorically in the bible in its negative sense. In the book of psalms, we find:

My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.

The image is also found in the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah, the book of Proverbs. Even Job took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.

But ancients also used sherds in a positive sense: to write prophetic texts and messages, to carry hot coals from one house to another, to dip water from springs or cisterns, and to cover cooking pots or storage jars.

The image of the ancient potsherd suggests the global upheaval instigated by Vladimir Putin—Its brokenness sears. Horrific gaming fills the media; killing and maiming and death leave bloody footprints and ravaged spirits; the Face of Evil leers.

Eleven days into Putin’s murderous invasion of Ukraine evidences, in my perception, the power of prayer-sherds hurled into the Universe: small, insignificant on the surface, but effective in spiriting its people, under siege, and slowing down the enemy’s tactics.

Will Ukraine become another broken pot? Become sherds for political analysis?

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