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I am glad—Still more to be gleaned from my study window this morning:

The finest mist freezes, midair, and saturates the plank fence across the backyard; it decomposes the twiggy circumference of the empty sparrow’s nest, from the summer, lodged among branches of the snowflake verbena. A few of its monkish leaves still clings as if grieving the loss of the chick’s family.

Beneath the shrub, the crystal droplet swells from the tip of a fallen leaf, its indecision like a toddler’s first steps: there is security in holding on.

Sudden movement in the corner of the yard distracts me. A mature squirrel, its pelt blending with the trunk of the London plane tree, pauses, then scrambles to a higher limb and disappears. Below, snow swirls pattern the bleached grass with feathery fingers. More melting islands of what looks likes snow creates rivulets across the pavers of my patio and slinks into the muddy corners, across more spent leaves. The ground appears juicy, its remote preparation for spring, in the making. The softest of breezes seems to slumber this world, dormant with life.

Prayer easily follows sloshing around in play boots stamped with ladybugs.

A solitary heart-leaf remains on the vine, long stripped of its greenery—an image that suggests grieving.

Certainly, beneath house tops outlined in blinking lights live those stricken by losses: disease, desertion, divorce, and death—There’s no getting away from them. Such devastation leaves hearts crimped, isolated, lonely.

Around the eyes, soft tissues sting with tears until the next upheaval., then more redness, more Kleenex, and more sobs sounding like a car with a flat tire. 

Anger flares when Santa is too jolly, when the overcooked turkey tastes like sandpaper, when no one helps clean up.

Alone again without guests, pain crazes the heart like fissures in an Oriental vase: precious, but broken. Only a glazier can restore it and make it serviceable again.

Such is like the artistry of Creator God: The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears… The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart. (Psalm 34: 17-18)

Prayer helps with this restoration and renewal of life. Next year Christmas will come around, different but with traditions just as meaningful.

This is my time to write. Opened in front of me is the blank screen of my word processor. I sit in silence, anticipating an inner movement, something to wrap words around.

That’s it—It’s about gratitude as I begin my third year of palliative care from hospice. Despite numerous blogs yearning for my transition, I’m still very much here, still filling my lessening free time with meaningful learning, with prayer for others, so much so that I’ve outgrown who I used to be. Former interests pale in insignificance.

Helping me in these endeavors are my eye sight, my mental faculties, and ability to write. More and more, I treasure my solitude in which deep listening occurs and new topics surface. There is still much I do not know. That’s a lot to say about someone, soon to be eighty-six years old.

Inspiration seems to breathe around me with each morning’s waking dreams, with the joy of my morning helpers, and the ever-changing views outside my study windows—Even the thinning leaves of my viburnum revealing more of the empty sparrow’s nest, with last summer’s single birth.

Not having a family of my own, I often wondered what my end time would look like; its experience, one day at a time, has enveloped me within a trackless realm, has challenged my deepening trust in God’s care, and has heightened my sensitivity to life’s nuances of setbacks and joys. My place in the human family is secure. And all this change, occurring within a split second, or so it seems.

So I’m grateful to Creator God, still fashioning the woman I’m destined to become. And grateful to my multiple helpers, including my guardian angel.

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