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At 5:30 A.M., I awoke to this joyous dream:

It is night. My god-daughter invited me to her home for a celebration. Not sure of the occasion, I went, having experienced many festivities with her family, her extended family and friends from her community. The usual warm glow, tables filled with sumptuous fare, children of all ages with their toys, and scintillating conversations fill the rooms. No one is excluded. But this occasion is different. My god-daughter is different. Usually a spirited woman, her buoyant laughter is more resonant than ever before. Her presence affords a charisma that everyone notices.

Night, again, speaks to the end of life. Time is of the essence, and unresolved issues must be settled. Each moment contains a cue for action toward even deeper acceptance of reality and humility and the elimination of denial and idealization.

Home suggests an enclosure in which I’ve interacted with countless people in my life, not always happily. True, forgiveness has balmed relationships, but the harsh judge, within—especially toward myself—still spews nastiness whenever triggered.

In Jungian terms, my god-daughter represents aspects of my positive animus: the innocent, the scholar, the caregiver, the beloved, and the explorer, in various stages of development.

Her vibrant energy empowers me to continue my end-time work and not lose heart. I’m grateful.

At 4 A.M, this disturbing dream awoke me; it seemed to continue until 6:50 A.M. when I climbed out of bed to record it:

I was sitting in the locked ward of the day room of an old psychiatric hospital. The poorly groomed patients wore faded gowns that tied in the back, their feet bare. The staff was rowdy, handled them rough, especially when administering injections or medications, or subduing them in four-point restraints. The noise was deafening. I’m not sure why I was there. The morning wore on. Then, Father Reinert, the Jesuit President of St. Louis University, was let into the day room where with a sorrowful look he signed the Guest Book with a large black fountain pen.

Such upheaval in my psyche suggests the insanity of profound disorientation: despair, drugged violence, lack of focus and voice, and lack of body awareness. Extreme poverty assigns them as wards of the already impoverished state. Their caregivers hate their duties but see no way to better themselves. Like flotsam floating atop oceans, there is no communication.

The flap of two of my caregivers may have given rise to this dream and my needless dependence upon them, especially since I am managing without them.

Indeed, my psyche also bore the smells of that setting that resembled the old St. Louis State Psychiatrist Hospital on Arsenal Street, my 1983 assignment for my ACPE training in chaplaincy. In both that summer experience and the dream, the challenge is to recognize my internal mayhem lest it infect others and impede the trajectory of my end-times.

The presence of Father Reinert, the Jesuit President of St. Louis University, in the day room was a surprise, given his habitual cheerfulness. Perhaps he was coming to see me. I need guidance.

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