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The timbered great door stands ajar. Silence infiltrates the light brilliancing the hardwood floor with its intrusion into darkness: So unexpected, so frightening, an irritant to eyes accustomed to living within the grip of shadows.

No one seems around.

The urge to explore this new realm discomforts. A response is called for, despite peppering fears similar to nail guns securing tiles to tar-papered roofs—It’s safer to remain with the familiar, however outworn. That’s what everyone says. Yet, the light persists, the light beckons, the light warms.

How many times have I stood upon such a threshold? Let go of opportunities for growth? Settled for less rather than embracing the necessary sacrifice to forge ahead? For too many years have I chosen the half-light, but no more. My senior years are thinning, and my friends are diminishing through death and disease. Even my energies are like spend-saver salt.

The paradox of this diminishment opens me even more to the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth. He is the open door to Light’s abundance. “Anyone who enters through me will be safe.” (John 10:9) This, alone, satisfies, even now.

 

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It is dusk, unseasonably warm. Cars inch toward the stoplight on the slick pavement. Ahead, what appears to be a blue stocking cap bobbing atop a motorized wheelchair rivets my attention. Again, the traffic advances three car lengths, and whatever it was slips out of sight–only the empty intersection at Arsenal and Hampton Streets. I wait. Once again, the traffic light changes.

A fleeting glimpse tells it all: bulging sacks hang from the back and sides of the motorized wheelchair, even sandwich the diminutive rider with the blue cap, her hand poised on the controls.

Her circumstances evoke questions: Will she maneuver across Hampton Street without being struck by another motorist? Where had she come from and where was she going? Why the sacks obscuring her chair? Do they contain all her earthly belongings? How did she loose her mobility? Does anyone look in on her? Yet her spirit sallying forth, alone, does speak.

Still more questions prick my awareness: What about the baggage I carry in my psyche–the fears, the resentments, the disappointments, the unresolved issues? How do they hobble my mobility? Impede deeper engagement in life? How discard such stuff and breathe? Stretch tall beneath the sunshine?

It’s all about conversion of heart and for that I need help, daily.

 

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Folk tales and myths and dreams are replete with stories of crossroads that reflect the sojourner’s panic or confusion. Enveloping him is an invisible presence, paradoxically menacing and attractive. There’s no going back. Ahead, the once predictable path is tangled with briars and the unknown; another mysteriously veers off from it. Footsteps falter. Queasiness cramps bowel functioning. Clamminess sours the lining of his being, provoking questions of identity. The comfort of the God of his understanding seems to have abandoned him.

At best, a sacred time of untangling emotional tangles, of ripping off blinders constricting vision, of freeing pent-up paradigms opening to the unknown. At best, purification like none other, with furtive glimpses toward that other path.

Such an impasse has swallowed a life-long friend, stuck at a similar crossroads, in my perception. Ravaged by years of heart and lung ailments, again admitted to ICU, on continuous oxygen, he awaits the effectiveness of IV drugs coursing through his veins. No matter that numerous brushes with death have diminished him. He wants to return home, its colors and comforts supporting his declining years. His devoted wife and son attend to his needs.

With them, we pray and watch and wait … and invite you to join us.

 

 

 

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