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This morning’s meditation on Step Eleven enlivened my spirit.

Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with the God of our understanding, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.

 Seated in my prayer chair, my eyes closed, my legs elevated upon a hassock, I gave thanks for last night’s encouraging dream of quaternity/balance, its silence enveloping my spirit with tranquility. Slowly, I mulled over each word of Step Eleven, then listened for new insights—They always came.

Like fire galling dry branches, the verb Sought set me ablaze for this exercise. With the eye of my spirit entrained upon the next moment, I sat up straight and began deep breathing. All the more critical was my desire to improve my conscious contact with the God of my understanding, given my spend-saver sands cresting at the base of the hourglass. That I will come to know Creator God, rather believe in Him, that I will spend eternity in with Him can lead to soiling my pants.

praying only for knowledge of God’s will jettisoned my myopic sense of self and opened me to the mystery of on-going creation in multiple universes. As co-creator, I’m mandated to produce something unique for the inspiration of others; and closer to home, to accept the daily diminishments occurring in my old body—a new experience, not without its moments.

That’s where the power to carry that out came into awareness. The rough spells of breathing, the eruption of knife-pains that eventually pass, the need to take more breaks from meaningful activities, the rigors of deep breathing and stretching exercises—all find succor in this power. And another day spoons into another, with more spiritual growth that graces my immortal spirit.

“This is not a story to pass on.” So concludes the freed black community after its brush with the preternatural, as found in Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel Beloved (1984).

Five years in its composition, the author dives deep for pungent images to express the inexpressible horrors of southern slavery and its afterimage during the Reconstruction, these anecdotes honed from her grandparents’ and parents’ experiences. Through Morrison’s artistry, her characters, no longer silenced, speak.

The setting for this novel is 124 Bluestone Road, on the outskirts of Cincinnati, Ohio. Within this two-story hovel live the protagonist Sethe, her eighteen-year-old Denver, and Beloved, the poltergeist of Sethe’s second daughter. The time is 1873. The narrative follows a circuitous route, with frequent insertions of backstory: Sweet Home, a small plantation in Kentucky where Sethe and five slaves tend the needs of the Garnets, a childless couple; Sethe’s “marriage” to Halle and their begetting four children; schoolteacher’s torture meted out to all the slaves, some escaping, others killed or rendered witless.

At the center of this circuitous route is lodged Sethe’s unspeakable crime that shimmies, beyond all telling. It takes forever to get there: the journey bristles with tension. Indeed, her poetic language crisps the soles of feet, squinches sensibilities, and fuels outrage.

“Love is or it ain’t. Thin love is not love at all,” Sethe tells Paul D, an aging Sweet Home former slave. From her perspective, her crime takes on a different hue—countering Evil and provoking questions that itch, badly, in the night.

 

 

 

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