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“Namaste, Liz!” Within the door-frame of my study stood the hospice chaplain, her eyes lowered, her fingers tented in a prayer position upon her chest. It was Eunice, time for our Thursday morning meeting, an appointment she has seldom canceled during our two years together. As she slipped off her navy jacket and sank into my desk chair, she crossed her legs, leaned forward. I was hers for the hour, mask and all.

“Good to see you, again, Eunice,” I said adjusting my voice amplifier to reduce the stress of making speech, one of the symptoms of my terminal illness. “Thanks for coming. Seems as you were just here.”

“I feel the same way. Picking up from where we left off comes easy.” Her soft eyes welled with compassion. The variety and depth of subjects explored, the book titles shared, questions about my blogs, the laughter, and the silent moments have opened us to the grace of the present moment—both eager to learn of LIFE’S fulness.

Early on, she had given me a copy of Thich Nhat Hanh’s paperback, The Miracle of Mindfulness: Introduction to the Practice of Meditation (1999). Periodically, have I thumbed its pages, paused to reflect upon its wisdom that startles in simplicity, that grounds in humility, that deepens my acceptance of what is—all of this while awaiting the most momentous experience in my short span of eighty-six years on planet Earth.

Until that time comes, Eunice will continue tracking my psycho-spiritual growth—a fascinating process, with each days’ dreams and new learning.

It began this morning. Shivering snow showers blanched pastel blossoms atop fruit trees, discolored bulb plants, and pinched dogwoods, leaving in their wake penetrating wetness and slick sidewalks: More of April’s fickleness that smarts—as if the faux colors of spring were a joke.

And less than one year ago, there was another killing in Powderhorn Park of Minneapolis, this time, not a shrub, but a man, its international impact finding resolution, of some sort, in today’s guilty verdict on all three counts. How this “flowering” will unfold remains to be seen.

Desperate is the need for global prayer to recreate hearts, afresh with new color.  

In the interim, we cry, “Mercy!” while observing tomorrow’s blooming azaleas and giving thanks.

At 6 A.M., I woke with this dream:

It is August, the evening of my arrival at the Eastern Point Retreat House for my eight-day directed retreat. Animated conversations of other retreatants draw me to the dining room for buffet supper. I search among them for my friend Pat, but she has not yet arrived. I’m concerned. Winds sweep dense levels of humidity from the Atlantic’s surface that borders the complex. I feel clammy, heavy.

At first, the dream’s setting, EPRH, thrilled me, the Jesuit retreat house that I had frequented for decades at Gloucester, Massachusetts. Profound spiritual cleansings had buoyed my spirit, until home for a while; and the emergence of entrenched habits resumed their former dominance.  

Then, I looked deeper into my psyche: Animated conversations of other retreatants exposedthe seepage of inner chatter, warring against my practice of meditation and spiritual reading that blocks “conscious contact” with Higher Power. This had been true at Gloucester, as well; only within its silence could I settle down to fully engage in its critical work, guided by my director.

In my present circumstances, I yearn for the same depth of silence in my psyche. This is not happening as much as I would like. I feel clammy, heavy. My body has never died before and I need guidance in prayer and from other spiritually minded persons. Yet, control still has mastery, despite my practice of CPA’s Twelve Steps; though, such sparring does yield spiritual growth. Time is of the essence.

In the dream I also noted anxiety over the absence of my friend, as if unable to surrender to the grace of the retreat that necessitates psychic change. This image speaks to existential loneliness, casting me adrift in powerlessness. Therein, I eventually find my God who companions me through end time. No one else can serve this purpose.

So I plod along, one day at a time …

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