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“I’ve never died before! I don’t know how to do this!” said Miki, slumped in a wheelchair at the table, her breathing supported by two linked concentrators whirring away like an intrusive helper. Lung cancer had created this dependence, her bloated cheeks bearing the indentations of the nasal tubing.

Her complaints drew compassion from her friends who had been visiting her in the nursing home since her admission, months before. Miki, the children’s reader at the city library, began to resemble one of her waifs—a wisp of hair emerging from her red knitted cap like a lost puppy. That was in 2016.

In my present circumstances, I think of Miki, of her initial resistance to the dose of morphine offered by the hospice nurse, of her transition, of the joyful funeral at St. Pius V, followed by lunch and memories with friends. Unlike, Miki, I’ve had almost two years managing my terminal disease and living with its culmination in the death of my body—sometime in the future, unknown to anyone.

I only have this twenty-four hours in which to breathe life into acceptance prayer and meditation as my energy wanes and I need more help. Yet, I’m still focused on my care plan, alternating blog composition, significant reading, and exercise, with resting, and listening to classical music. Difficulty making speech shortens phone contacts and visits. Tomorrow will be another opportunity to grow spiritually, if granted.

I learned much from Miki, ever mindful of her help.

I awoke at 6:25 A.M. with this inspiring dream:

Women from all parts of the world gather and pray for peace.

This glimpse into my psyche, cast in pastel blues waves, opened me to a different kind of power, one that seeks compassion, intimacy, and trust in the Invisible; one that softens rough edges, listens with the heart, that laughs merrily with life’s twists and turns. So profound is this power that violence shirks her company and flees like disturbed bats in underground caves dripping with slime.

Such transformations happen within the school of prayer, to which Women from all parts of the world devote themselves, unsparingly. In my perception of the diseased, truncated Planet Earth, only God’s intervention, with one psyche at a time, can facilitate some kind of restoration—a new creation, if you wish. Living around the edges of Life no longer works.

So what kind of prayer are we taking about? One that accepts the arduous work of rooting out the stale furniture in our psyches, one that tracks our wolf-like instincts and squelches them from another kill, one that quests for authenticity, one that prompts us to pal with like-minded individuals and rebuild the broken.

Only within the present moment, in prayer, can we be so touched. Such inflames more courage to face and live in the truth where we traipse boundless shores, where we hike mountain paths, where we are set free, our birthrights fully actuated.

At 7:35 A.M., I awoke to this corrective dream:

I wear a hospital gown and lie upon a gurney, having just been rolled into the operating room for total knee replacement surgery. Last week, I had the same surgery and don’t understand why I have to go through this again. I look around. The room appears unclean, smelly; the nursing staff wears soiled scrubs—one of the nurses injects my mid-back. It stings. To my left, sets a leaden trough with body parts surgically removed from previous patients, earlier in the day.

This dream reveals darkness in my psyche that confounds my spiritual faculties: thinking and choosing. I am powerless, unable to stand on my own, so I believe. More knee surgery would remedy that, another concludes.

The gurney, a wheeled stretcher, takes me to the operating room, the theater of high drama where medicine, fused with technology, often brings about beneficial changes to patients, but not without physical and emotional pain. But this operating room is a toxic environment, with high risks of infection or loss of life. Despite knowing this, I remain helpless to change my circumstances.

Even the body parts surgically removed from previous patients should have roused me. I say nothing and let the plan proceed.

That my psyche was stunned by new energy diminishment the past two days is obvious: gnawing fears of being victim, of self-pity, of still working things out on my own. The dream seems to call for greater trust in God’s plan for my demise, not some credentialed authority in my psyche.

Although weak, I do have a voice.

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