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Last night at 10:30, coughing interrupted this dream:

I’m inside an antiquity museum in a Middle Eastern country. A native guide points out the features of the Tree of Jesse, a ceiling-to-floor hand-woven wall hanging, striking for its varied colors of blue. No other tourists are around.

At 7:15 this morning, I made myself open my eyes, despite being deliciously swaddled in effervescent-love. I tingled all over, yet had no recall of the supporting story. From the kitchen came the aroma of simmering quinoa, my breakfast, in the works by my helper. Also astounding was the night of uninterrupted sleep that did nothing for my chronic exhaustion that hangs like widow’s weeds around my psyche.

Yet, the first dream filled me with awe: it felt like I was standing on holy ground, supported by pregnant silence rejoicing in unseen harmonies. The blues of the wall hanging soothed me. At the same time, the guide’s identification of Jesus’s forebears perched upon limbs of the Tree of Jesse quickened me. It felt like I had entered the O Antiphon, Root of Jesse, and again heard its plea:

Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.

And the memory of this morning’s experience still lingers in my psyche: no unmet needs, communion with HP, joy beyond telling—perhaps a foretaste of eternal life; perhaps also an assuagement of recent grief as well as a reminder that suffering is the usual precedent before transition. There are few exceptions.  

So again grounded in the present, I wait and pray with everyone else …

It is Monday morning. Outside my study window the Elgin street cleaner hovers over the clean street and cleaves the brooding silence with its low roar.

Yet another day has passed since Christmas, whatever that was: a mélange of the absence of God, of loneliness, the routine of ADLs, frigid winds of angst, tasteless food of my diet, expectations for consolation that never happened. My psyche felt like ashen chips of worn out fillers. Finally, it was time for my nightly “cocktail,” the oblivion of sleep, and relief Christmas was over. I did the best I could.

Then, a cheerful voice tore asunder my mood.

Earlier, I’d left a voicemail for my handyman who had been servicing my appliances for years. When he had first knocked on my door, he reminded me of Santa Claus with his white beard flowing over his belly, gold-colored spectacles, his bright orange suspenders, the rolled-up sleeves of his blue shirt, and black boots. Prompt, knowledgeable, personable with a quiet manner, his service was impeccable, even innovative. He’d been helping other customers for over forty years.

“Yeah, that’s right,” he said, “I’ve finally retired.” This I had known from calling his other number and learning of his replacement. The cheerfulness in his voice warmed me.

Santa did come—just a few days late!

It’s been weeks since my nightly “Cocktail” of morpheme and Lorazapan afforded me a window through which to glimpse my dreams. This morning at 3:15, I recorded these corrective dreams:

I offer to help my sister shop for khaki pants. Department stores, boutiques, and thrift shops fill the day, but nothing is suitable. Finally, we discover a beauty salon/specialty store and go inside. The first pair that my sister tries on fits perfectly except the lengths are two feet long and will need altering before wearing them.

I watch a young woman care for a viable two-trimester baby girl sucking her thumb and kicking her right foot in the air. Breezes fondle her new hair. I’m amazed.

Shopping has never appealed to me. Helping my sister shop for khaki pants suggests holiday scatter-shot in my psyche that ramped up anxiety, loneliness, even grief. Unnecessary exhaustion blanketed chronic fatigue, even pulled me apace from Twelve Step work in Chronic Pain Anonymous.

The lengths of the pants require radical altering. This is where AA’s description of humility comes into play: getting right sized with the resumption of Twelve Steps: living fully in the present moment, the Source of grace.

The second dream also stunned me. The young woman, the baby’s mom, appears impatient of her daughter’s lung formation and essential weight gain, the third trimester’s critical tasks. Despite inexperience, she would provide for the needs of her daughter. Such also reveals my impatience with birthing my spirit into eternal life, for which I’ve no experience. Again, my unconscious need to control the uncontrollable begs for an even deeper humility and acceptance of my humanness.

In time, I will die, as will everyone else. I just don’t know when, despite my readiness.

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