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This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

So proclaims the Psalmist in verse, 118:24

Of special importance is the day, the last one in January and time to change the wall calendar in my kitchen.

This year, the print of Van Gogh’s 1890 Houses at Auvers graces February and mirrors the world of Auvers, northwest of Paris, with its thatched and tiled roofs and summer gardens. Broad strokes of pigment suggest his elusive emotional stability.

But obsessed to co-create with his Creator, his tormented psyche pushed him beyond exhaustion, beyond the minutes in any hour, and toward eventual suicide in July, two months later.

Perhaps an extreme use of time, but one from which Van Gogh’s six hundred or more oil paintings emerged and which still inspire viewers around the world. I have to think he glimpsed the whirlwind of colors while in his mystic fury, simultaneously filled with bliss.

So, what are we doing with this new day, no matter how quickly the seconds collapse into mill-seconds like mixing cups of flour into the liquid ingredients?

Only when very young and in the convent did I learn the significance of the Psalmist’s wisdom to rejoice in each day, a gift. And now, even more…

It was Halloween 2019, sitting on a gurney inside a curtained cubicle in the emergency room. Again, I needed help with my breathing and said to the doctor in words, not my own, “I didn’t want to come here—Was just here two weeks ago. We’ve got to talk.” From somewhere in my depths, more words formulated into questions, one after another. It all seemed so easy. I just had to listen for the next question, then ask it. The doctor’s responses made complete sense as a new care plan was evolving for me: it would be hospice.

Like Spirit transporting the prophet Ezekiel to Jerusalem by the hair of his head, I felt radical change coursing through my body. It felt strange. And it was those words that had set me up.

 Once home and cut from my moorings by the hospice sign-up, I floundered within its implications: it felt like a garment twenty sizes too large. Then, it occurred to me to enlist the source of those words that had so easily tripped off my tongue with the doctors.

Long ago, I had sensed my inner writer, often feeding me the next right word for the memoirs I wrote and for my weekly blogs. Through this relationship, I grew as a writer, the new skills also pleasuring significant reading. I had known of others blogging illnesses and surgeries, even composing non-fiction accounts of the dying. I would do similarly.

 Tentatively, I began blogging this new life path. The words felt scratchy but they appeared in my word processor and began telling my story, no matter if it was followed. I was to write. Then, my inner writer wanted daily postings, and the press was on.

Ten months later, that garment twenty sizes too large, almost fits. Through writing, I have filled out the empty folds with listening, beauty, insights, and significant reading. More substance will accompany me when I make my transition.

Clearly, God is doing for me what I cannot do for myself, a major tenet in Twelve-Step recovery.

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