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At 2 A.M., a recurring dream woke me:

It is Sunday afternoon, the sky clear. Earlier, I had parked my Toyota on the corner of Lindell Boulevard, largely empty of cars. After I unlocked my car and positioned myself in the driver’s seat, I turned on the ignition and placed the gear in reverse. Slowly, I accelerated. From the right fender came scraping noises. Rather than stop and investigate the source of the problem, I continued heading toward home.

 At 8 A. M., I woke with this dream:

Exhausted, lethargic, brain-fogged, I request spiritual direction from Mother Schroen, the Mistress of Novices. I wish to leave the noviceship. When others did so, I felt the pull to do, as well. The morning of the appointment, I arrive at the bathroom, the indicated place for the meeting. I’ve a great need to urinate, but the water level in the toilet bowl is too high. If flushed, it would overflow and I wouldn’t know what to do. No sign of Mother.

Both dreams address deep-seated, obsessive fears in my psyche. True, during waking hours, I monitor my overall functioning, making necessary adjustments for shortness of breath, weakness, and dizziness when still under the side effect of Dexamethasone. But my Dreamer spins other scenarios, closer to the actual truth for my continual spiritual awakening—manifest through the practice of the Twelve Steps.

CPA’s Step One counters my unmanageability by reminding me of the powerlessness of my terminal disease. Let go and let things be as they are. In Step Two, I deepen my faith in Higher Power’s will to restore me to wholeness. And in Step Three, I again surrender my life and will to Higher Power’s plan for me, despite recurring impatience. Then in Step Seven, I humbly ask for release of the obsession.

 It works, until the next relapse.

“Click!” sounded the front door as it was pushed open, the gutter still dripping from the early morning squall. She shook her umbrella and stepped inside.

It was her smooth chocolate hands—hands unflinchingly willing to serve—that first quickened my heart to her inner riches, warmed by a bright smile.

I first experienced her caring hands, three years ago, while convalescing from multiple fractures. She supported my daily efforts toward independence and knew when to step back as I regained more responsibility over my affairs. In subsequent years, we remained friends as more of her story emerged.

Widowed with three little ones, grandmother, decades of caring for patients in hospitals and skilled nursing homes: all have gentled her hands, with when to touch and when to let go. In private homes, no housework was too much: cleaning, washing, scrubbing, cooking, mopping. No errands slighted. Transportation to doctors’ offices, emergency rooms, and rehab also supported her patients. Informing the work of her hands has been the lifelong study of the bible with its ancillary materials.

However, due to my terminal illness with its weakness and shortness of breath, she has returned to my home: This time, to watch and support my gradual decline as I move toward my transition. She has also lined up additional caregivers when my needs increase. Handy with the hose, she presently keeps my grass watered and the marigolds pruned.

I remain in good hands and I’m grateful. She has become the black sister I never had.

Her name is Tracy McNeil. (618-975-1001)

This midnight dream astounded me, left me wondering:

It is night, the waning moon filling the cloudless sky. Throngs of men, women, and children fill an amphitheater built within a hillside teeming with tall grasses, trembled by ocean breezes. Laughter, excitement, and expectation mount with passing moments. I feel vibrantly alive among them.

Once awake, I sat up, then, returned to sleep, only to have the dream reoccur.

Earlier in the evening, I’d been horrified by Yahoo’s narration of Portland’s Wall of Moms, walking arm in arm between protesters and federal agents—And the follow-up story of the Fathers Against Fascism with their leaf blowers. Whatever or however these stories occurred remains to be seen, but something horrific did happened that incited fears of the continuing violence in our country.

To return to the compensatory dream—The night speaks to the lateness of the hour, to time running out, given my advanced years. I am alone, unnerved by the crowds, agog with enthusiasm; they were privy to something I’ve yet to learn—something about story. My Dreamer wished me to join them. I do.

Under their tutelage I’ve already stumbled upon parts of my story, but more will be revealed, now that I’m safely ensconced in old age. I feel as though I’ve just pulled apart most of the wrappings of my birthright, foibles and all—it is wondrous.

So rather that leech stories from Yahoo, better to explore the recesses of my birthright, see what’s there, and continue coming alive, from the inside out. The quest deepens…



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