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At 7:10 A. M., I woke with this corrective dream:

A senior myself, I decide to move into a Jewish apartment complex, shabby in appearance, its property split by the rails of the Metrolink. In the lounge, the mixed residents share hilarious stories and games: among them, the mating game that requires participants to identify their mates using other names. I decide to join them. After I mastered several tasks, I discovered my mate, elderly, smiling, and wearing steel spectacles. I’m overwhelmed but know I’ll adjust in time.

In the dream, I am elderly, but healthy, as I make decisions that reflect behaviors foreign to my present values—evidence of little-to-no forethought. Something else must be going on.

The Jewish apartment complex…its property split by the rails of the Metrolink suggests a noisy, congested living space that aptly describes my self-generated distractions. The split, a wound of sorts in my psyche, prevents deep listening in prayer; it keeps me rigidly attached to my daily routine lest I lose ground and cave in to the active process of dying that will complete my transition—thus my need to control this process rather than surrender it to Precious God.

And the playful mixed residents, appropriate under other circumstances, increase my anxiety, deepen my longing for solitude, and exacerbate my pretense of game-playing. I certainly don’t need a mate, of any age.

Like angry flood waters barreling me where I have no need to go, my instincts have had their heyday with me. Such is the dream’s message and cry for more practice of Step XI: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve out conscious contact with God as we understand him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry it out.

Happily, I discovered one of many expressions of Vincent van Gogh’s angst shared in a letter with his brother Theo, his sole confidante:

“There may be a great fire in our soul, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by only see a wisp of smoke through the chimney, and go along their way. Look here, now, what must be done? Must one tend the inner fire, have salt in oneself, wait patiently yet with how much impatience for the hour when somebody will come and sit down near it—maybe to stay? Let him who believes in God wait for the hour that will come sooner or later.”  Letter # 155 from The Letters of Vincent van Gogh (1873 – 1890).

The great fire in our soul references the presence of the Sacred that van Gogh experienced in prayer and its extension in oils on canvases and other mediums. He knew the inner fire and the salt in oneself, both biblical images,that fueled his passion to explore the untried; but the impermanence of this state provoked impatience, and this letter seemed to have emanated from one of his dry spells. Still, van Gogh painted, subjects that caught his imagination, whether indoors or outdoors, at times, striking his passion into flame.

The oil-on-canvas, Plain Near Auvers (1890 – the year of his death) attracted my attention. Variants of greens, blues, yellows, and whites caught the dynamism of a peasant’s fields, with crows flitting among grasses in the foreground. The uncertainty of the sky escalates the drama: the Sacred surprises as in our lives. Note in the right-hand corner the addition of three red roses in the grasses.

Vincent van Gogh’s willingness to participate in the Creator’s plan, with broad brushstrokes and heavy pigments, challenges me to deepen my gift of writing in the time allotted me.  

I’m a ripe peach—waiting to drop.

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