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“Hello! I’m looking for Laura. Has she left the office yet”? I asked raising my voice as loud as I could. In this afternoon’s mail, she had sent me a form requiring my signature and date, before mailing it to the IRS.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t hear you. Can you speak louder?” A tad of irritation shadowed his words, impatient to close the office for the day. After several attempts to be heard, I said I’d call back tomorrow and hung up the receiver, pissed.

Evidence of another symptom of my terminal illness irks me: insufficient air in my diseased lungs to sustain normal speech, even while wearing continuous oxygen and taking morphine and nebulizer treatments to slow down the collapse of the air sacs in my lungs. Exhaustion is another component. Eventually, I could lose my speech.

The irony of such a loss weighs heavy upon me, especially since I only began to speak when three years old; an older brother mimicked my total development, so, I did nothing—too terrified to go out on my own, I just imitated others’ speech and behaviors when I had to. Decades of unfortunate choices followed until I began dream analysis in 1988 and AA in 1991. Through the help of others, I began to wake up to my inner gifts with their unique expression—Even more so, when encouraged to begin writing.

Now when I desire to converse deeply with others, I’m severely limited. Writing does help, but face-to-face sharing strikes hot coals, and in their warming, phenomenal learning.

I still flinch when someone says they can’t hear me. If I don’t replace my anger with Step Three: Made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him, I stay mired in self-pity and that’s never worked. Precious God is bringing me home according to his plan, not mine. There’s no other way around this.

Doors open onto our homes, our cars, places of work, recreation, worship, stores, and other institutions; their variety reflects the imagination of the contractor: some hinged, some folding, others sliding, and still others rotating up and over, and most with locks. Crossing their threshold imperceptibly alters our energy.

The walls of Egyptian tombs in the Nile Valley depict the earliest reproductions of both the single and double doors, replete with symbols demarcating the sacred from the profane. Later, ornamental doors were found on mosques, monasteries, cathedrals, and temples, orienting the worshiper toward its mysteries.

Outside the precincts of sacred places, the doors of our homes are also sacred. Our choice keeps some inside; others, without.

Yet, another door lies closer to home, the door to our hearts; its challenge is to work with its promptings:  pause before opening it before whoever or whatever attracts. Then, discernment follows with questions: Who will benefit? What will I learn if I act? Or give in? Do lesser motives obscure its toxicity? Is neediness demanding to be satiated? Perhaps “No” is the wisest response when clarity is an issue.

Such practice deepens humility and opens the psyche to spiritual guidance, without which we stagnate.  Thus, we thrive in our flawed humanness and bring our unique gifts to fruition among others—the purpose of our existence, so I learned long ago but still slip up.

It had been one month, then, one week, now only four days before New Year’s Eve, with its frantic preparations for get-togethers or travel, with its review and planning for 2022. It feels like hurtling through time, with nothing substantial for support. Gossamer strands, multicolored like candy canes, tickle imaginations, tumble words, and befuddle days of the week. What ever happened to 2021?

Standing below a maple, its nakedness articulated against the blue sky, I’ve heard myself say, let’s snapshot this, tuck it away in memory. So beautiful! Like nothing I’ve seen before! Yet, however strong the impression, it’s lost within the recesses of my psyche, perhaps to be savored in a later dream.

I feel this way toward the old lilac shrub outside my study window. In what seems like a slit second, it has displayed its full cycle of budding, of splitting greenery, of heady blossoms morphing into tissue-paper browning, of killing winds stripping the bug-eaten leaves, leaving winter’s dormant presence. Each snapshot of the shrub’s cycle nudged Creator God in my depths; they are all there.

Such transformation speaks of my own that manifests in dreams, prayer, and other “O!” moments, even words that surface from my word processor, realm of my Inner Writer.

So, all of life is energized by the Sacred and through course corrections, both sweet and bitter, keeps everything cycling through its growth and diminishment and regrowth—everything in good order. 

Now on the down side of life, I still offer thanks for what is left, despite time’s curlicues.

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