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Winter slipped into spring as I prayed and blogged and watched, the initial drama of signing on with hospice morphing into a manageable routine. The hospice nurse and chaplain continued their weekly visits, offering guidance and compassion and laughter. Their seasoned attitude toward terminal illnesses, with emotional and spiritual manifestations, reassured me that I was in special hands. Although still eligible for their care, the parameters of my world began to chafe my spirit. I needed something else.

Then, I happened upon liminal space, a pregnant image that stretched the contours of my swollen limits. Despite low energy, my psyche could breathe again. True, I had cut loose the moorings of past abilities and places I loved to frequent. True, I had no interest in large gatherings, wherever housed. True, I had found increasing solace within my simple home, its solitude and silence enhancing prayer and study. Grief spells came and went, leaving troughs of raw feelings. Dreams continued tweaking my life-path into deeper honesty.

Thus enriched, my watching and waiting took on new dimensions: there was life beyond the diseased one of my eighty-four years, in this incarnation. There would be more learning, deeper joy in Creator God’s multiple universes. I would no longer feel estranged from my true home. Supporting me in this orientation were my CPA community and close family and friends.

From my depths, something like hope began to sing. This would work out. I just had to listen for cues and take the next step, wherever it led.

As one commentator said about liminal space, “Honor the space between no longer and not yet.” It’s where the Sacred dwells, source of ultimate transformation.



“Be still and know that I am God,” Yahweh says to Elijah, prophet and miracle worker huddled in the cave at Mount Horeb. “I’m not to be found in mighty winds, nor in earthquakes, nor in fires,” Yahweh adds.

Like Elijah fearful for his life, I am stressed.

Winds of gibberish, earthquakes of exploding shards, fires of angst still assail my psyche when left unguarded. Left behind are swathes of distortion related to the progression of my terminal illness and the illusion of being trapped in nothingness. Instincts clamor for fulfillment, at any cost while controlling the uncontrollable stresses to the max.

When under siege, I know to wait and grip my crucifix, hard. Within the madness slowly emerges the longed for stillness and I adjust to my new symptoms, awash in the wordless swirl of Creator-Love.

Such is my continuous spiritual growth as I await the deliverance of my old body—something I have to pass through.

So it’s about being still and praying …



“Sorry I’m late. Got tied up at the rectory, it being Sunday and all—it was the blueberry pancake breakfast for the kids and their families,” he said standing on my front porch, a balmy breeze blowing the boxwood hedges behind him. It was Father Dan, Pastor of the College Church, his Roman collar gracing his long sleeve clergy shirt.

“You’re just on time,” I said escorting him to the dining room table around which we sat. “I’ve been looking forward to this.” I had received the Sacrament of the Sick numerous times before knee surgeries and within healing Masses, but I sensed this would be different— the unexpected pitfalls of my terminal illness, especially the long nights, still cried out for God’s mercy.

“I’m so glad to help you out, Liz,” he said smiling as he withdrew from his pocket the sacred olive oil and the pyx containing the consecrated host. Then he found the place in his worn ritual book and placed it in front of him. Only chirping of tree sparrows enlivened the silence we shared as we waited for the Lord’s fullness to manifest.

Antiphonal prayer followed a reading from the Gospel of Matthew: Come to me all you who are heavily burdened and I will give you rest. My yoke is easy, my burden light. Then dipping his fingertip into the olive oil, Father Dan traced the sign of the cross upon my forehead saying in hushed tones, “Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit.”

Then, other crosses upon the palms of my hands, with the prayer, “May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up.” It was done—graced crosses resonated within my entire person: body, mind, spirit.

Fragrance like blossoming olive trees seeped into the wiggle-room of my humanness and soothed the rough edges of my terminal illness. I would not lose heart.


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