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In conversation with the hospice nurse, I heard myself speak the words, Dark Lover, an image of death that emerged from my unconscious, later enlarged within Isaiah’s revelation: I form the light and create the darkness (45:7) Until now, I’d not seen this comparison—both Dark Lover and its counterpart, Lightsome Lover, glimpse the same reality, intimately involved in on-going creation, both its ascendancy and decline.

Like others, I’ve experienced my share of trials that began with a difficult breech birth. Trauma from fractures and food sensitivities that developed into chronic illnesses diminished my participation in life, but in retrospect, I did manage, with Dark Lover’s guidance, though not recognized as such.

His care and protection have seen me through caustic bone pain, the monotony of learning to walk seven times, significant falls, the dullness of exhaustion. Even more has he been present in prayer—teaching me: Your will, not mine, be done.

With this trenchant insight, I’ve a new lens through which to view my present circumstances. Despite the increase of symptoms, I’m prompted to let them go, and to deepen my surrender to Dark Lover’s care flooding my aged body and battered spirit, ever in the process of depth healing.

This is working out, twenty-four hours at a time.

At 7:15 A. M., I awoke with this Step One Dream:

I’m planning my special dessert for guests invited to my home later in the day. The ingredients call for two-to-three feet of newly fallen snow and pots filled with melted chocolate chips. Everything is ready. I go out to my backyard and dribble hot chocolate syrup over the snow, then begin mixing the concoction with a wooden paddle.  To my horror, the snow congeals the chocolate into hard bits. I’m furious.

A departure from yesterday’s dream, this one reveals, in Jungian terms, shadow material: unwonted behaviors and attitudes and so much more that lurk within the darkness of my psyche. In dreams, such disorders are symbolically brought to consciousness for my review. Such was this morning’s dream.

I’m planning suggests total control and obsession to please my guests with the dessert of all desserts that will enjoin their adulation upon my low esteem. I will feel alive. Nothing about the ingredients seems unusual: two-to-three feet of newly fallen snow that suggests frigidity, unyieldingness, and unwillingness to relate to people, places, and things; and melted chocolate chips, the mood-changer with their caffeinated kick.

The wooden paddle becomes the tool to whip this delicacy into shape, rather than chill my arthritic hands. The hard bits were not supposed to happen and trigger blinding rage. 

On yet a deeper level, this dream plunges me into the unmanageability of Step One: my bargaining with Precious God—if I come up with an unheard of sweetness for my guests, including Him, then I’ll be rewarded with a longer stay in this existence. But my plan fails and decades of repressed rage bite me in the ass.

Besides carrying this rage to subsequent steps in CPA for its removal, I pray with the Psalmist: “From my hidden sins, O Lord, deliver me.” Psalm 19:12

It came unexpectedly: the blackened sky, the gale-strength winds, the spattering downpour, the truncated tree limbs and shrubs, the flickering of my electrical power—light-dark-light-dark light-dark—an interval of light, then more episodes of flickering, then light. It was seven P.M., supper completed in my kitchen. I prayed. Mercifully, the power did hold fast, supporting the oxygen concentrator for the night.

Later, this metaphor surfaced. The uncertainty between the dark-light flickers mirrored the “Yes-Buts” that occur when not fully conscious and turned away from God’s direction for the next breath. Like sitting on the fulcrum of a seesaw, going nowhere, I’m adrift within instinctual quicksand, rife with the seven deadly sins: pride, anger, greed, lust, gluttony, envy, and sloth—integral to my humanness. 

Another’s suggestion can easily trigger my “Yes-But” reaction, for that’s what it is—not a response. Imbalance sets in. Anger, pride, and sloth take center stage banked by monstrous fears. My “Yes,” spoken behind a mask of subterfuge, serves to placate the friend’s feelings for the offered suggestion, while the “But,” oozing with pride, reveals my self-centered ego. Sloth clouds my judgment with resistance to change, especially if it involves sacrifice.

Living in the indecisiveness of “Yes-Buts” deepens quagmire existence. I know. I’ve been there. No effort, no spiritual growth.

There is a way out, as I’ve often blogged: the Twelve Steps of any recovery program. Discovery of a Higher Power reverses such “Yes-But” reactions as we clean up our inner world with transforming grace and become honest. It works if you work it. light-color returns.

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