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At times, I falter before the enormity of my coming transition. Hospice authors frame it within the verb, cowering—craven fear. Yet, it’s coming. More symptoms attest to this reality, and my body is imperceptibly failing. Because Twelve Step practice, meditation, and blogging have brought this experience home, my faith feels grounded like a pair of sturdy Oxfords. Six months of hospice care have also enhanced this new learning.

To my delight, I continue receiving nudges for the next blog to compose, and with it, new vistas to explore. This one moved me:  

 Knock upon yourself as on a door, and walk upon yourself as on a straight road. For if you walk on that road, you cannot get lost, and what you open for yourself will open.

…from the non-canonical Gospel of Thomas, filled with Gnostic sayings of Jesus Christ among first-century Christians—It was found among thirteen leather-bound papyrus codices buried in a sealed jar in a cave near Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in 1945.

 

 

This saying amplifies an earlier one found in Matthew’s gospel 7:7-8:

…Knock and the door will be opened to you…For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

 This pair of similar sayings engages seekers differently: Matthew’s directs their needs toward Jesus Christ for fulfillment; whereas, Thomas’s, toward the seekers themselves whose spirits, already blessed, have everything they need to maneuver their tangled humanness. To access this grace, humble prayer is a critical prerequisite.

So I’ll keep knocking upon myself/door and walking the straight road, wearing my sturdy Oxfords. It’s already been working…

 

“Be still and know that I am God,” Yahweh says to Elijah, prophet and miracle worker huddled in the cave at Mount Horeb. “I’m not to be found in mighty winds, nor in earthquakes, nor in fires,” Yahweh adds.

Like Elijah fearful for his life, I am stressed.

Winds of gibberish, earthquakes of exploding shards, fires of angst still assail my psyche when left unguarded. Left behind are swathes of distortion related to the progression of my terminal illness and the illusion of being trapped in nothingness. Instincts clamor for fulfillment, at any cost while controlling the uncontrollable stresses to the max.

When under siege, I know to wait and grip my crucifix, hard. Within the madness slowly emerges the longed for stillness and I adjust to my new symptoms, awash in the wordless swirl of Creator-Love.

Such is my continuous spiritual growth as I await the deliverance of my old body—something I have to pass through.

So it’s about being still and praying …

 

 

It was 465 B.C.E., Cyrus the Great’s liberation of the Jews after two hundred years of captivity in Babylonia. No longer would they suffer beneath the heel of their captors. No longer would they doubt God’s saving presence in their midst. Once home in Jerusalem, they would rebuild their Temple with the help of funds and goods given by that Persian king.

This event drew the prophecy of Second Isaiah: Listen to me, House of Jacob,… you who have been carried since birth, whom I have carried since the time you were born. In your old age I shall be the same, when your hair is gray, I shall still support you…I will deliver you. (Isaiah 46:3-4)

Such words must have inspired the newly freed to recommit to their covenanted life with God. Their sloth in observing the Law had made them easy prey to the Babylonians, two hundred years before. I imagine the Jews rubbing their eyes in wonder as they began their trek home, their sacred scrolls strapped to the backs of donkeys. Indeed, the Jews still enjoyed God’s unconditional love and protection and they knew it.

My present circumstances mirror those of the Jews in captivity: diminishments in energy, in focus, in movement; temptation to despair; wimpy faith; stark loneliness; uprootedness from my identity; inability to grieve; flatness of affect; interminable dark nights; terror of the unknown.

But like the Jews, there are interludes of grace: CPA phone meetings, daily contacts with my CPA sponsor, Dr. Singh’s Grace in Dying, February’s mildness, the southern magnolia flourishing in my back yard, daily blogging, the still small voice within my psyche, my sister’s nightly phone calls, meditation, and nutritious food.

Mercifully, I live one day at time while awaiting my deliverance—I, too, will return home.

 

 

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