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“There is a season for everything, and a time for every occupation under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die,” a declaration attributed to Qoheleth, a sage by profession and a Palestinian Jew living in the third century BCE. Qoheleth and others developed the Book of Ecclesiastes as a corrective to counter the empty philosophies of Stoicism, Cynicism and Epicureanism that had vulgarized life in Israel and eviscerated traces of the Sacred. Life was empty; knowledge, virtue, love illusory.

Yet, a sense of the Sacred permeates this short book, sacralizing the totality of life: its impetus, Creator God and no other.

Fast forward to the present. Despite later prophetic utterances, even those of the God-Man Jesus of Nazareth, not much has changed, save for solitaries harboring the Sacred within their depths, save for some churches whose Spirit-filled members give thanks and serve with joyful hearts—such is my perception.

I return to yesterday’s green flag and my continuing eligibility for receiving hospice care— “Six months or less to live,” I was told. Others have judged the proximity of my physical death, as if Creator God has no say in the “work of his hands.” The obsession to conform to Medicare’s rules and regs, constantly under revision, keeps the sickened system contorted beyond fixing. The specter of this fiscal dragon continues sprouting new fire-spewing crowned-heads, terrifying its work force.

Qoheleth was more than accurate when he declared “a time to be born and a time to die.” No health care executive can make this decision for me. I belong to Another.

My decision to forego further medical treatment for my terminal lung disease came unexpectedly easy; it flowed organically from my willingness to change.

“Hi, this is Liz, living in St. Louis with chronic illness. Thanks for the meeting. Hi everyone!”

For over two years, I had been calling into daily phone meetings of Chronic Pain Anonymous. What I heard amazed me. Fellow sufferers, from around the world, applied the principles of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous to the negative baggage of their pain and illness. They still had a full life. Crippling physical disorders did not define them. At the heart of their recovery was a new God of their understanding to whom they surrendered, one day at a time; at times, one moment at a time.

Tired of my glum world, I would find my own God. As long months passed, I continued listening, studying our literature with CPA buddies, and praying for discernment. Occasionally, “charged words” heard during meetings stirred my heart. I knew I was on the right track.

And then it happened in that emergency room last month. Like the morning sunrise, the change emerged, blindingly evident, upon my former wasteland. My enthusiasm knew no bounds.

For those trapped within organs that barely function, with medication, for those with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, nerve pain, migraines, wasting diseases of any kind, there is a community waiting for you: Chronic Pain Anonymous. Information about this spiritual fellowship can be found on Join us and come alive!


Brown Pelican in flight at sunrise on Captiva Island, Florida

Available on Amazon

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