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At 6:15 A. M., I awoke with this encouraging dream:

It is winter, dark outside. After long decades, I return to college, brightly lit, with my belongings and discover my old small room has been completely renovated in engaging pastels of creams, greens, and strawberries—a suitable milieu to continue my studies. As I begin settling in, a former classmate says excitedly, “I didn’t know you were here!” then sits on my new desk chair. Others who I’d studied with also fill my room that overlooks the street below. Occasional noises, the only drawback.

This encouraging dream reveals fresh beginnings in my psyche. Again, the winter, dark outside suggests the shortening span of my life—a critical reminder to live in the now and to let go of yesterdays and tomorrows. I’ve still much to learn.

The college, brightly lit, suggests advanced learning, the opportunity to deepen my knowledge of human history, free from idealism or romanticism or muddled thinking. I’m clearly ready.

And my old small room felt like the one at the Junior College I attended, the first time away from home. In the dream, though, its colors gladdened me. The Interior Decorator, aware of my preferences, had created this environment for new learning, despite its hardness, knowing that I would feel at home.

And a former classmate, as well as those who later fill my room with feminine energy, suggests a plethora of positive support and encouragement. Joy abounds.

Lastly, the occasional noises speak of irritations woven into life’s fabric, also sources for new learning.

This encouraging dream still lives on, its beeswax fragrance, a source of contentment  … 

There’s nothing like profound loss to unleash questions about our assumptions. What surfaces, if we can stand it, is the faulty bedrock upon which we have built our lives. It no longer sustains us. To survive, an enlargement of our myopic worldview is critical. But how approach such a herculean task? Observing another’s achievement helps.

Remember Job, the god-fearing gentile who lived in the land of Uz? Who lost everything? Whose do-gooder friends intruded upon his angst with pious platitudes about good and evil? Enraging Job even further? Stephen Mitchell’s paperback, The Book of Job (1979), puts a different spin on this story, dating in oral tradition from the seventh through fifth centuries, BCE, the earliest Hebrew manuscript appearing some fifteen hundred years later. We’re not alone in upheavals that rent our very souls. Stories from Ferguson, MO, speak to this chaos, as well.

Mitchell’s poetic translation from the Hebrew reveals Job’s movement from stunning grief, to maintaining his innocence, to rejecting all previous theologies, to piercing the mystery of God as God is. Wholeheartedly, Job surrenders; in his surrender is found absolute poverty and absolute generosity. He says,

“I know you can do all things

and nothing you wish is impossible.


I had heard of you with my ears;

But now my eyes have seen you.

Therefore, I will be quiet,

comforted that I am dust.”

Thus Job, the giver, becomes the gift. After the restoration of Job’s family and possessions, he lives long years and dies peacefully among them, his spiritual transformation, now complete.

Such reflections continue helping me with the loss of my brother.




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