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Heart-cries fraught with tears for:

first responders in Haiti and Afghanistan,

firefighters in Greece, Turkey, Israel, and America,

victims living with chronic pain and illness,

 military, police, and law enforcement,

patients stung by the virus, despite vaccinations,

  addicts of whatever substance,

the grieving,

the destitute,

the terminally ill,

the dying,

Such are our brothers and sisters of the human family throughout our broken world.

We ask Your protection and care with complete abandon.

At 7:25 A.M., I awoke with this disturbing dream:

I drive my car to the Visiting Nurses Association, a complex of many buildings, for my day of orientation. I discover Valet Parking at the main entrance, and an employee hands me a claim ticket in exchange for my keys. The day passes with new learning of my responsibilities. Then, I find my way to what I thought was the main entrance to pick up my car and return home. However, I am lost and no one is around to ask for help. I’ll have to walk. I’m angry as I finger my claim ticket.

In the dream I’m still healthy, still driving, still working, but that’s not what’s going on. It’s about my car, a symbol that used to carry my body from place to place. Having worked with the Visiting Nurses Association in the past, I deem it appropriate to return there to learn new interventions for my ailing lungs. I’m in control or so I think I am.

The employee with Valet Parking, perhaps God in disguise, welcomes me, and hands me a claim ticket in exchange for my keys. Still thinking I’m in control, I go about my business, to my satisfaction. Later, I look forward to an evening of relaxation as I seek the main entrance and the retrieval of my car. I’m lost, alone, with no one to help me, a condition that engulfs me when not in conscious contact with God. My anger mounts. All I have is the claim ticket for a new body/car to be received after my transition.

Reduced to walking for the present, I clutch the claim ticket. Anger burns in my psyche.  I grieve.

It didn’t take long to empty closets, shelves, and drawers in my home—everything that I wasn’t using—after the news of my terminal illness and hospice’s sign-up in November 2019. Years of having served home care and hospice patents in their homes had kept my life uncluttered, but I still had more stuff than I imagined.

Emptying the glove compartment and trunk of my 1999 Toyota came next, before a church member bought it and drove it away, leaving behind the oil-streaked floor. No longer did garden tools and sacks of grass seed and fertilizer fill the walls and shelves; crumpled remains of spiders remained in the corner of the windowsill. Only the sixty-foot hose remained next to the overhead door. And last of all, my hand-written analyses of dreams in thirty loose-leaf binders were emptied, their contents bagged and destroyed.

The de-cluttering accomplished, a service offered to those who would clean up after me, I could began my end time, or so I thought. Yet, emptiness gaped back at me whenever a drawer or door opened—and more disturbing were dream stories with more stuff to clear out. There seemed no end to this psychic disorder.

A new discipline now informs my practice of CPA’s Twelve Steps. Only Higher Power can complete this ultimate de-cluttering, constituted by my own willful choices. And with this practice is a new sense of my humanness, a hard-won lesson, its significance still requires unpacking, one day at a time.

My mantra ever deepens: “Mercy!”

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