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The shredder’s whine and engorgement of previously valid documents reminds me of the ego’s painful process of letting go—Certainly, the experience, for most of my life.   

My collection of paper caricatures of who I thought was began with baptism and communion and confirmation as drawn up by the parish church, followed by signatures on vow formulas, as a nun, and later, on its dispensation granted by the Vatican in Rome. I was also collecting paper degrees, with corresponding certifications as teacher, as social worker, and as hospital chaplain, each of which substantiated my identity. Outside of what I did for a living, I had no identity.

With the early onset of rheumatoid arthritis came more reports from internists, rheumatologists, and surgeons, results of lab and x-ray work-ups, and a spiral bound notebook for notes, remembered from office visits.

Then, came the three-year marriage: with more signatures at City Hall, at the church, followed by the divorce decree and the subsequent annulment. The bottom drawer of my desk housed these documents; it remained shut until the next change. Never did I ever know whom everyone was describing. It seemed like someone else.

And it was. Only after a series of painful dreams did I seek Jungian analysis in 1988. Thus began close listening and study of my unconscious that was desperately seeking to be heard. Imperceptibly, I began to change: the fruit of daily recording my dreams and their meanings, enclosed within thirty-two loose-leaf binders that lined my bookshelves.

With my 2001 retirement, I began serious writing and Twelve Step work on my character defects. The rest is in print.

The shredder’s power to re-constitute whatever it was fed is like another Power who has reshaped my past: it is me and not me, at the same time, with conscious contact of my Higher Power.

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.”

And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

From Genesis 1:11 – 13

We give thanks …

Last night at 10:30, coughing interrupted this dream:

I’m inside an antiquity museum in a Middle Eastern country. A native guide points out the features of the Tree of Jesse, a ceiling-to-floor hand-woven wall hanging, striking for its varied colors of blue. No other tourists are around.

At 7:15 this morning, I made myself open my eyes, despite being deliciously swaddled in effervescent-love. I tingled all over, yet had no recall of the supporting story. From the kitchen came the aroma of simmering quinoa, my breakfast, in the works by my helper. Also astounding was the night of uninterrupted sleep that did nothing for my chronic exhaustion that hangs like widow’s weeds around my psyche.

Yet, the first dream filled me with awe: it felt like I was standing on holy ground, supported by pregnant silence rejoicing in unseen harmonies. The blues of the wall hanging soothed me. At the same time, the guide’s identification of Jesus’s forebears perched upon limbs of the Tree of Jesse quickened me. It felt like I had entered the O Antiphon, Root of Jesse, and again heard its plea:

Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.

And the memory of this morning’s experience still lingers in my psyche: no unmet needs, communion with HP, joy beyond telling—perhaps a foretaste of eternal life; perhaps also an assuagement of recent grief as well as a reminder that suffering is the usual precedent before transition. There are few exceptions.  

So again grounded in the present, I wait and pray with everyone else …

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