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It had been one month, then, one week, now only four days before New Year’s Eve, with its frantic preparations for get-togethers or travel, with its review and planning for 2022. It feels like hurtling through time, with nothing substantial for support. Gossamer strands, multicolored like candy canes, tickle imaginations, tumble words, and befuddle days of the week. What ever happened to 2021?

Standing below a maple, its nakedness articulated against the blue sky, I’ve heard myself say, let’s snapshot this, tuck it away in memory. So beautiful! Like nothing I’ve seen before! Yet, however strong the impression, it’s lost within the recesses of my psyche, perhaps to be savored in a later dream.

I feel this way toward the old lilac shrub outside my study window. In what seems like a slit second, it has displayed its full cycle of budding, of splitting greenery, of heady blossoms morphing into tissue-paper browning, of killing winds stripping the bug-eaten leaves, leaving winter’s dormant presence. Each snapshot of the shrub’s cycle nudged Creator God in my depths; they are all there.

Such transformation speaks of my own that manifests in dreams, prayer, and other “O!” moments, even words that surface from my word processor, realm of my Inner Writer.

So, all of life is energized by the Sacred and through course corrections, both sweet and bitter, keeps everything cycling through its growth and diminishment and regrowth—everything in good order. 

Now on the down side of life, I still offer thanks for what is left, despite time’s curlicues.

Last week’s eighty-sixth birthday caught me within a frothy flurry of greeting cards and notes, two floral arrangements, a creamy-pink poinsettia plant, phone calls, emails, and daily visits from my dear sister who lives out of state. Only now can I begin to sort through this experience that exhausted and tickled me at the same time.

Nursing and chaplain visits, deep breathing and stretching exercises, short walks through November’s zestiness, with my helper, also filled the more-than-full days.

Awareness of my long-deceased parents, their difficulties birthing me and their powerlessness over my chronic illness and pain, also led to even deeper love for them as I move through my end-time; theirs was rough. 

Only now can I fully appreciate this outpouring of love that mirrors Precious God’s embrace: its intensity left scarring upon my psyche, such that I would always remember and grow in gratitude.  

Indeed, it’s all about relatedness, about communion, about intimacy.

This is my time to write. Opened in front of me is the blank screen of my word processor. I sit in silence, anticipating an inner movement, something to wrap words around.

That’s it—It’s about gratitude as I begin my third year of palliative care from hospice. Despite numerous blogs yearning for my transition, I’m still very much here, still filling my lessening free time with meaningful learning, with prayer for others, so much so that I’ve outgrown who I used to be. Former interests pale in insignificance.

Helping me in these endeavors are my eye sight, my mental faculties, and ability to write. More and more, I treasure my solitude in which deep listening occurs and new topics surface. There is still much I do not know. That’s a lot to say about someone, soon to be eighty-six years old.

Inspiration seems to breathe around me with each morning’s waking dreams, with the joy of my morning helpers, and the ever-changing views outside my study windows—Even the thinning leaves of my viburnum revealing more of the empty sparrow’s nest, with last summer’s single birth.

Not having a family of my own, I often wondered what my end time would look like; its experience, one day at a time, has enveloped me within a trackless realm, has challenged my deepening trust in God’s care, and has heightened my sensitivity to life’s nuances of setbacks and joys. My place in the human family is secure. And all this change, occurring within a split second, or so it seems.

So I’m grateful to Creator God, still fashioning the woman I’m destined to become. And grateful to my multiple helpers, including my guardian angel.

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