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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.

Wind-besotted rains knocked white petals from the Bradford pear tree across the street and patterned the new grass with curlicues. Nearby, browning blossoms from magnolia trees cluster in piles along the plank fence and upon the patio furniture. Daffodils along the road, once trumpeters of spring’s surprise, resemble pinched cheeks of dowagers still intent upon preening in the sun for the kiss of youth.

However, with colors fading comes disintegration, then melding into the earth; its “Ah!” gets lodged within memory. There will be another spring, I used to say, soothing my grief and anticipating the flowering of summer’s riotous colors—just a matter of time.

So time is the culprit disrobing natural beauty of its window into the Sacred. Tinges of sadness emerge. No one knows if they will see another spring. Photos can freeze that fleeting glance, but it’s not the same. Gone is the energy. 

Such awareness begs for acceptance. Especially is this true for my terminal illness like a deadly insect slowly devouring my lungs. Yet, with my helpers, I still groom and dress myself as if I’ve a full day of errands to run. Another friend styles my silver hair. 

So like the single cluster of pear blossoms on the tree, I’m still here, waiting until nudged elsewhere.

At 6 A.M., I woke with this dream:

It is August, the evening of my arrival at the Eastern Point Retreat House for my eight-day directed retreat. Animated conversations of other retreatants draw me to the dining room for buffet supper. I search among them for my friend Pat, but she has not yet arrived. I’m concerned. Winds sweep dense levels of humidity from the Atlantic’s surface that borders the complex. I feel clammy, heavy.

At first, the dream’s setting, EPRH, thrilled me, the Jesuit retreat house that I had frequented for decades at Gloucester, Massachusetts. Profound spiritual cleansings had buoyed my spirit, until home for a while; and the emergence of entrenched habits resumed their former dominance.  

Then, I looked deeper into my psyche: Animated conversations of other retreatants exposedthe seepage of inner chatter, warring against my practice of meditation and spiritual reading that blocks “conscious contact” with Higher Power. This had been true at Gloucester, as well; only within its silence could I settle down to fully engage in its critical work, guided by my director.

In my present circumstances, I yearn for the same depth of silence in my psyche. This is not happening as much as I would like. I feel clammy, heavy. My body has never died before and I need guidance in prayer and from other spiritually minded persons. Yet, control still has mastery, despite my practice of CPA’s Twelve Steps; though, such sparring does yield spiritual growth. Time is of the essence.

In the dream I also noted anxiety over the absence of my friend, as if unable to surrender to the grace of the retreat that necessitates psychic change. This image speaks to existential loneliness, casting me adrift in powerlessness. Therein, I eventually find my God who companions me through end time. No one else can serve this purpose.

So I plod along, one day at a time …

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