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Grief’s heart-language strains to make sense of the irreparably broken, plumbs bottomless depths for slippery words, and grapples with bits and pieces of flotsam cast about by the oceans of the world. Tears flow like spume crashing down mountain crevices, pooling angry streams, and flooding once-fertile banks. I look around. Uselessness seems to be the norm.

Such is my world this afternoon as I write. To soothe my psyche I perused the Hebrew Bible’s Book of Lamentations (586 BCE) and marveled at its poetic utterances lamenting the plight of the Exilic Jews, vanquished under the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar: its city of Jerusalem wasted; its Temple destroyed and left desolate by Yahweh. The tone is bleak.

Yet the burden of their sinfulness, the stinging angst in their psyches, was far worse than the devastation and fires and loss of country. Fortunately for us, the ancient poets of the Book of Lamentations had the spiritual rigor to leave us their ultimate response: hope in the face of the impossible.

Would that someone could craft a response to the brokenness of our world. Certainly the pool of suffering deepens and hope seems stuck away in underground abysses. Certainly prayer, in solitude, can help: Let God be God in His world.

Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Such is promised those who enter the sanctuary of their hearts and listen and obey. The guidance is there. We’ve only to follow it.

At 6 A.M., I awoke with this helpful dream:

It is night. I receive a call from a church member who asks my help with a problem. In my brown-and-white cotton shirtwaist dress, I look trim as I make my way to the church. Alone, I figure out the problem. Later, I understand that everyone is relieved.

In my psyche there is a problem-solver who serves me well, though often obscured and seemingly unavailable in daylight. In that realm I continually apply the Twelve Steps to my character defeats as they relate to my terminal illness, with increasing weakness and shortness of breath. Yet I’m still up and about.

I expect the dream’s problem is related to my flim-flam acceptance of what is coming, and the church needs my expertise in resolving it. No one has experienced the spiritual depths to sound its perimeters, unlike Job’s three friends who jabbered on and on from their neatly construed theologies like faucets belching tainted water.

In the dream everyone is relieved with my passing.It’s been a long wait and a source of unease, if not grief, for many. Who likes being reminded of their mortality?

So the dream speaks of the necessity of my aloneness and the steadfast presence of the problem-solver in my psyche. This will work out. I’m certainly not unique in facing the end of this life.

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