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Not fully awake nor fully asleep, I made myself come to full consciousness. It was late, the sun spun lights upon the polished hardwood floor of my bedroom. Outside my window, parents kept up with their kids to the elementary school in the next block, with toddlers plodding along next to their strollers, with dogs yapping at their heels. Yet, the makings of a significant dream were being dissembled the more I tried to make sense of it. Left only with the impression of a frothy cathedral, its gothic arches lost in the clouds, I put it aside, took my medication, and prepared for the day.

Later, it occurred to me that upon awakening other mornings, I had glimpsed other medieval cathedrals, but no stories to accompany them. Only that I was alone and hushed by the beauty, that silence spoke eloquently of Presence, that centuries of prayer molded the wooden kneelers placed in front of the marble altar. Questions flooded me. I yearned for an interpreter to open up the historical significance of where I was and why I was there, but none occurred in the dream.

As a younger woman, travel to European medieval cathedrals certainly fed my psyche with their soaring spaciousness and my time, there, spent in prayer. And yesterday’s YouTube study of the German Holbein father and son, religious artists of cathedrals, saddened me; reformers of Martin Luther destroyed their renderings with knives, hatchets—whatever they could lay hands on. Such images were forbidden in religious settings. Such impressions certainly provide dream material, at any time.

So, what do I make of this series of frothy—the specific word given by the Dreamer—to describe these medieval cathedrals? Perhaps the spirituality implied by such historical landmarks is unsubstantial: Here in this moment; then pop, it’s gone? That my greater need is to rely upon God’s plan for my purification than upon my own practices? That I really don’t know what any of this is about?

So, I begin and end with questions …

This is it, I said to myself, closing the front door behind me. My cheeks flushed, my breathing quickened. The second look confirmed my decision to lease this two-bedroom bungalow, despite having no experience caring for a house, despite my seventy years of age. Now that I was retired, I needed a quiet place to finish my book. This was 2006.

But I looked around again. The space I could handle, but the rest of the brick bungalow was an eyesore: the appliances, old; the walls painted in the drab colors of nineteenth-century peasants, with the exception of cherry red for the dining room; the hardwood floors, were scuffed and stained where once carpet had lain; discolored blinds, some blades bent, covered the windows. The infrastructure also needed renovation, together with a new roof.

Mature shade trees and perennial flower beds enhanced the exterior, however. Still, I heard myself say, “This is it!”

And the bungalow still is. Everything about it was a challenge from God: to replace the unlovely with beauty; to seek contractors for major repairs; to learn how to care for my bungalow until I’d arranged a circle of helpers. Every room contains multiple stories and when put together, express the woman I have become and who has actualized much of her birthright, before making my transition.

With the renovation of my bungalow complete; with my closets and drawers largely emptied, save for what I’m actually using; with my on-going psychic work protected with solitude and silence; with the bare minimum of loving helpers, most days, I feel deeply content and grateful for new growth. And my simple bungalow serves admirably as the container: God’s preeminent gift.

What could He have in store for me? For all of us?

Those who live with the stripes and curlicues of fatigue share intimacy with a world that shimmers like the desert sun, that yawns in the middle of another yawn, that hankers with empty bowls. Cracks interface all surfaces: nothing holds anything—spillage seeps into arroyos. Uselessness smells with stacks of barren projects. Aimlessness kicks into piles of stones scattering them like winter’s refuse.

Yet, in the wake of such fatigue, the paradox of grace welcomes that which is different and from which new learning abounds. No longer does busyness choke-hold us, plunge us even deeper into fatigue, with mindless dependence upon pills until the next “Cocktail.”

There is a way out and the beleaguered know who to contact for the critical release and return to normalcy.

But should that fatigue deepen to the physical death of the body, all the better—the dawning of eternal life ensues. Such is the hoped-for ultimate outcome of my fatigue.

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