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Grief fills my psyche from which flow these images:

Grief cracks hearts, buckles knees, evokes sighs, and distorts reality: its blackness, the mixture of primary colors.  

Like fine granules of soot, grief seeps into inaccessible realms of spirit, discolors memory’s story, taints judgment, and hazards activities of daily living.

Like a medieval hairshirt, grief irritates nerves, prickles to the point of pain, constricts breathing, and welts backs with hairline sores.

Like hobnail boots, grief tramps up and down the peaks and valleys of quicksand moments, trudges through sand-blistered winds of change, lapses into forgetfulness, and imprints the terrain with its history, its courage only grasped later.

We have just lost a kind neighbor on our court, so willing to endure years of treatments for his disease, in the midst of his loving family.

His name was Tony. We will miss him, very much.

Silence hums outside my opened window as threads of dawn enwrap the star magnolia, a shrub-like tree, with its fragrant mantle of first flowerings.

We rejoice and give thanks!

“Hi, Mary! How was your weekend?”

“So you’re back, Mr. Trenton. It’s good to see you again!”

“How ‘bout that game on Saturday! The Cardinals are hot!”

“Such a yummy egg sandwich! Enjoy!”

“Hi Sally! How did it get to be Monday again?”

“How’s your mother-in-law doing after her hip surgery last week? She did take a nasty spill!”

 

So inches the line toward a slight woman wearing a white shirt and a black apron and standing behind the cash register in the hospital cafeteria. It is the breakfast crowd, come for their fix. However they began their day, they brighten to her wide smile like marigolds picnicking in the morning sun.

 

Perhaps there is another way of looking at such transactions. We have hungers, we yearn to assuage them through diverse means, and we sacrifice, willingly or unwillingly, to obtain them. Critical to this process is choice. Despite mistakes, we have Precious God as a change agent, a cashier of sorts, eager to enlarge our lives. 

 

Our cashier’s name is Phyllis. Her day is just beginning.

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