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At 7:35 A.M., I awoke to this corrective dream:

I wear a hospital gown and lie upon a gurney, having just been rolled into the operating room for total knee replacement surgery. Last week, I had the same surgery and don’t understand why I have to go through this again. I look around. The room appears unclean, smelly; the nursing staff wears soiled scrubs—one of the nurses injects my mid-back. It stings. To my left, sets a leaden trough with body parts surgically removed from previous patients, earlier in the day.

This dream reveals darkness in my psyche that confounds my spiritual faculties: thinking and choosing. I am powerless, unable to stand on my own, so I believe. More knee surgery would remedy that, another concludes.

The gurney, a wheeled stretcher, takes me to the operating room, the theater of high drama where medicine, fused with technology, often brings about beneficial changes to patients, but not without physical and emotional pain. But this operating room is a toxic environment, with high risks of infection or loss of life. Despite knowing this, I remain helpless to change my circumstances.

Even the body parts surgically removed from previous patients should have roused me. I say nothing and let the plan proceed.

That my psyche was stunned by new energy diminishment the past two days is obvious: gnawing fears of being victim, of self-pity, of still working things out on my own. The dream seems to call for greater trust in God’s plan for my demise, not some credentialed authority in my psyche.

Although weak, I do have a voice.

At 7:30 A.M., I awoke with this corrective dream:

After a long absence, Cardinal Ritter Institute hired me to work in the office as an accountant. The offer surprised me, because I’ve no training in that field, nor interest. Yet, I clocked in on the designated morning, dismayed by the noise of the employees, some of whom remembered me. Small cubicles crammed the windowless room where I would work.

This disturbing glimpse into my psyche seems to reflect the busyness I’ve set upon myself, perhaps unnecessarily: very short walks outdoors with my cane and helper, additional stretching and range of motion exercises, putting up Christmas decorations, yesterday’s ZOOM holiday party with a quartet of Victorian-dressed carolers, taking over more of my self-care—all of which has exhausted me further.

As a young social worker in the employ of Cardinal Ritter Institute I had toughed it out visiting housebound patients in the city, in return for which my medical benefits covered ineffectual drugs, multiple joint surgeries, and rehab. I had to look normal, and working looked normal. Yet, rheumatoid arthritis continued ravaging my body. Better to have filed for Disability at that time, but I was too proud.

Although I was credentialed in my field, I was also ill suited for the work.

And to bring this absurdity to a head, My Dreamer has me accepting work as an accountant: Numbers have always flummoxed me. And the windowless room speaks for itself.

That I’ve been off course is obvious—Back to listening and Step One…

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