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Before 2020 melts like a snowflake within 2021, I want to review where I’ve been—a sober preparation to bring in The New Year.

The major glitch in 2020 occurred with the implications of my terminal diagnosis, Interstitial Lung Disease with Rheumatoid Arthritis that confirmed my eligibility for hospice care, with weekly nursing and chaplain visits beginning in November 2019.

Initially over-medicated on Dexamethasone, my diagnosis drew tears of those around me. The finalization of my last wishes stressed my lawyer, broker, accountant, and funeral director. In between completing my ADLs and daily Heartwhisperings blogs, I continued studying the German theologian Ladislaus Boros and the transpersonal psychologist, Katherine Dowling Singh: both authors of significant material on death and dying. I would be ready for whatever comes, so I thought—No matter that my ILD was a slow developing illness.

Weeks slipped into months, seasons, into seasons. With the subtle increase in weakness, shortness of breath, and exhaustion, my passivity deepened. Others began helping me with personal care and my business. More drugs were offered, but leery of side effects, I declined. In hindsight, my sleep deprivation was largely the culprit.

With last September’s nightly “cocktail” of morpheme and Lorazapan, regular sleep returned, and recently, significant dreams and a tad more energy. Making speech has become work, however. I’m not always happy when the phone rings, but I answer anyway. 

Again, it seems that I’ve plateaued in my terminal disease, and therein, my limited life as I continue experiencing it, one day at a time.

But many were 2020’s gifts: spiritual growth through 12-Step work, daily blogging my terminal illness/old age, the support from friends and helpers, and the direction from significant dreams. With God’s grace, I hope to fill The New Year with His inspiration. It’s not about me. It never has been.

The experience of joy quivers our existential depths with sweet wordlessness, then casts an afterimage of longing within its waning. Then, it’s gone altogether, and the humdrum returns—another paper to correct, or a bathtub to clean. Yet we have been visited and pine for its return.

This universal experience, from time immemorial, still raises questions: Is there an ultimate Source of Joy—without ending? How regard such moments when they erupt from our psyches, then disappear? True, major world religions have affixed stories to such intrusions and developed corresponding myths for the inspiration of its adherents.

The Christian myth has held my imagination since baptism; its response to grief, integral to the human condition, has sustained me on this arduous life-path, at times, interspersed with splinters of joy. Only with the discipline of Twelve-Step living in later life, have I been able to stand apart from organized religion and experience the full impact of Jesus’s message of salvation. Therein, lies the fullness of joy, bursting to be shared.

Such bursting undermines today’s liturgy for the Third Week of Advent, especially ringing in Mary of Nazareth’s canticle of praise in Luke’s gospel—her finding greatness and delight in the Sacred:

My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior…  Because He who is Mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

Because she saw so clearly, we are invited to pray in like manner, despite our grungy stuff. In the big picture, that does not really matter.

We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.

Taken from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

Available on Amazon

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