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At 6:45 A.M., I awoke, shivering, with this dream:

On Sunday morning, I attend brunch at an elegant country club with flower-bedecked tables laden with choice foods, attended by aproned servers. Stylishly dressed families jam circle tables in the dining rooms that overlook the golf course. The chatter is deafening. Because I’ve a need for a restroom, I go in search of one. The next awareness I have is of a hand leading me from the men’s room, located in the basement through labyrinthine musty stinking corridors. The soot-encrusted tiles feel cold beneath my bare feet. I’ve lost my shoes. Bleary-eyed, exhausted, I plod along.

This dream could have causal factors: taking my thyroid medicine at 5 A.M., then turning on Relevant Radio, a recently discovered Catholic FM station, rather than resume my sleep. Just wanted to hear what they’re talking about, I mused, having been a non-practicing Catholic since May 2007, though still one at heart.

The smooth tones of an Archbishop, repeating himself at intervals, intrigued me. It felt like I was seated in the boardroom of a Fortune 500 Company; the commodities under discussion were the souls of the Archbishop’s nine thousand parishioners and plans to revivify their spiritual practices, as well as help his struggling young priests return to prayer. All in all, a rosy picture emerged of his Archdiocese.

Again, it was my curiosity that activated my Dreamer’s correction as noted above.

The image of the Sunday morning brunch suggests an essential feeding during a church service; the elegant country club, the veneer of the Catholic Church; the chatter, the gibberish of prayer; the men’s room, the undercover manipulation by the patriarchy; the basement, the shadow/unacknowledged sinfulness of the Catholic Church; hand, the right green forearm of salvation as depicted in Medieval stained glass windows; and the loss of my shoes, the absence of purpose.

The sickening aftermath of this dream lingered into the day, eventually dissipating in the writing this blog; its lesson: beware of curiosity and its contagion.

Or perhaps the dream is all about my shadow, not the Catholic Church.

 

 

I stand corrected…

Soon I will begin my ninth month in hospice care—a period of waiting, praying, and blogging about my terminal illness: Interstitial Lung Disease with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Yet, my body shows no signs of dying, other than weakness, shortness of breath, and the wear and tear of eighty-four years.

Little did I realize that musing in the ambulance—I wonder of this will be a life changing event—would, in fact, come true. That was in June 2017 when I tripped over the cord of my vacuum cleaner and fractured several bones. Surgeries, rehab, and two months of personal care in my home followed this event. Still, I thought, in time, I’d return to my former level of functioning. That did not happen, but I failed to see the obvious implications: my body was old and no doctoring could fix that.

Hidden from me was the abhorrence of old age with its spend-saver diminishments. That was not for me. Because I observed the directives of my Pilates coach, I imagined my elder years with full functioning. Besides, our mother lived to be ninety-nine years old.

Rather than focus upon my end-time, as if I’m unique in that regard, I choose to open up the riches packed within the gift of old age: prayer, singing, listening, story telling, and laughing, gifts found in Shakespeare’s King Lear. Perhaps there are still more gifts, unknown to me at this blogging, with their incentive to renew my trust in Creator God, the source of my words.

Indeed, the end of my existence will come, but not before I’ve lived fully in old age, a new container for my psyche.

 

 

 

 

This corrective dream woke me at 11:30 p.m.

“Let Johnny Depp handle this for you,” I was told as someone placed an envelope in my hands and left.

 In the dream I was unfocused, not wholly present to my circumstances. My affect must have enlisted this unsought attention.

I’ve no image of someone, other than his voice repeating the directive several times. Nor do I recall the story or the setting from which this directive was issued.

After an online search of fifty-seven year old Johnny Depp, I shuddered with his creepiness: cunning as a snake, manipulative as a pimp, and stealthy as a thief. And in Jungian psychology, he corresponds to the image of my negative animus corroding my instinct to live.

 

Obvious questions followed: what was Johnny Depp doing in my psyche? Why was he singled out as source of help for my dilemma? If I did need help, why him, given spirited guides I’ve consulted in the past?

Certainly the weekend’s eruption of nerve pain in my left knee, the phone contact with the on-call hospice nurse, and the first time taking Oxycodone with its mellowing effect red-flagged my body’s continuing diminishment over which I have no control—and in its wake, dissociation from my body.

Then, spiritual insights gleaned from significant readings, breathless interludes of prayer, and phone contacts with my CPA sponsor could have messed with my groundedness. Like everyone else, I still pee and poop and use underarm deodorant.

For me, it’s about waking up to my finite humanness and throwing away the envelope. Ultimate direction flows from within.

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