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Why Are You So Afraid? (Matthew 8:26)

Another question that I pose to myself casts light upon my present experience and probes the depths of my psyche.

In some ways, I’m prepared to make my transition, but it does not happen: life still burgeons my desire to live; especially following short walks, outdoors, with my caregiver. Only today did I touch the red stamen of a yellow magnolia blossom growing in a neighbor’s yard, then gloried in Creator God. Never have I seen such coloration.

But the despoliation of our global world also terrifies me. To this, a friend always responds, ”God knows what he’s doing!” followed by the imperative to trust.

Yet, fears can suck my resolve and warp mental functioning like pesky mosquitoes feasting on road-kill. Such intrusions feel like another has usurped my power, cut moorings to the familiar, and relegated me to the ash pit, mangy with week-old garbage.

Happily, I’ve learned the way out: practicing Steps Six and Seven of Chronic Pain Anonymous in the presence of Jesus of Nazareth: mustering readiness for the removal of fears and humbly asking that such occur. Occasionally, I telephone for help if the fears persist.  

This works, like nothing else that I’ve tried, but I still have to keep practicing; its result, on-going spiritual cleansing, essential for living eternally.

Silence hums outside my opened window as threads of dawn enwrap the star magnolia, a shrub-like tree, with its fragrant mantle of first flowerings.

We rejoice and give thanks!

I still remember that afternoon in the NICU as I watched the mother smiling through swollen-starved eyes and holding her brain-damaged daughter in her arms. Next to her stood her grandmother, my dear friend. Not much was said—just a loving presence, fresh tears feeding the grief and more hugs. That was in 2002.

When stable, the newborn would return home. Never was there mention of an institution to provide the 24/7 support she would require for the rest of her life: hands-on care and tube feedings that afforded nutrition and the medical management of her chronic seizures and cerebral palsy.

Years passed. Daily, she was fed, washed, dressed, and placed in her special chair in front of videos that seemed to spark something in her. Birthdays and holidays celebrated her smiling psyche, always in blessing toward others. Daily, she was kissed and blessed with holy water. Illnesses were infrequent.

However in 2018, a significant respiratory infection almost ended her life, save for the twenty-four hour intervention by her mother and grandmother in their home. In no time, she was back to her normal and remained so until the beginning of this month.

Again, she became gravely ill: more high fevers, intermittent seizures, and respiratory symptoms that required constant suctioning for over a week. Rather than send her to the hospital for treatment, they chose to work with her at home, as before. Given the impeccable care she has always received, no one could surmise the cause of these disorders.

Yet, two days ago, her old normalcy began to reappear. Spirits lifted, for a time. Only last evening’s brightness around her blue eyes evidenced something else was going on—something near the ceiling. Kissed and blessed with holy water as always, the grandmother retired for the night—but found her remains this morning.

Ellie, another angel, has returned to Precious God from whence she came. On April twenty-third, she would have been twenty-one years old. May we all learn from Ellie and her caregivers.

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