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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.

Some have noticed a lull in my blogging. It’s puzzled me, too. No longer do words come facilely as I sit at my word processor, distracted by the flowering of the summer snowflake viburnum outside my study window.

Rather than there being nothing to write about, my apparent shut down is related to my terminal illness: interstitial lung disease with rheumatoid arthritis that crimps my energies, my mental faculties, and my overall functioning. Practicing daily acceptance in CPA’s Step One, these past two years, has softened the distress of my shortness of breath, extreme weakness, need for continuous rest, with increasing difficulty to speak.

Other than sloughing off my aging body for another realm, there is no remedy—save for the time-released morphine pill and two Nebulizer treatments, taken daily. It is this process I’m to focus upon—such was my Inner Writer’s intent in stifling words from my depths.

The end of my life approaches; its symptoms have their own story to tell, and I hope to honor them.

At 4:20 A, M., I awoke with this probing dream:

The late morning is iced over by spitting rains as mourners climb stone steps of the entrance of the College Church at St. Louis, Missouri. A significant member of the congregation has died, known for her long-standing activism exposing evil’s many faces wherever she saw them—even imprisoned for her work…A fearless woman, she never flinched turning her other cheek…Grief impressed its pallor upon the bereaved as they knocked slush from their boots…I wanted to be like the deceased.

This dream story would be remembered, unlike pieces salvaged over the past month, only to be snatched back into my unconscious; this dream would wait until I turned on the light, grabbed pen and paper, and wrote. Only three sentences were unintelligible in the morning’s light. More meaning would have emerged had that not been the case.

The wintry weather, iced over by spitting rains, suggests the cold-killer lurking in my psyche that imprisons my words beneath glacial ceilings, pinched by frigid waters. The College Church speaks to the patriarchal milieu that influences attitudes, decisions, even actions: all of which had kept my feminine spirit in bondage until leaving, decades ago. Yet, this is the venue that agrees to handle my remains, whenever ….

The fearless woman in the dream story is unknown to me—perhaps my positive feminine archetype. The grief-stricken mourners attending the memorial Mass speak of my own, still attached to this life and bewailing its diminishment and inability to participate more fully. There’s so much more to learn. Despite daily prayer of powerlessness over my demise and of surrender to God’s will, I’m still holding on. Such, I think, is the intent of the dream.

I know this is Creator God’s work. I have only to participate.

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