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Like a weaver, you roll up my life and cut it from the loom…I twitter like a sparrow, I moan like a dove. Isaiah 38: 12-14

This quotation from the prophet Isaiah speaks to the quaking in my depths that sets my teeth on edge: I’m confronted by the Weaver’s power that will end the ongoing project of my life, one I dearly love, but so late in its actualization. Clearly, I am not in control and I don’t like it.

This time, it is nerve pain in my left heel, stinging as I sit at my word processor.

Other bothersome symptoms, related to the Dexamethasone I’m taking, continue shadowing my day: moonface, increasing fatigue and shortness of breath and dizziness, weight gain, increasing deformity and flexibility in my hands, intermittent knee pain. Coughing up infected mucus exhausts me. Only physical death will free me from these symptoms.

In the interim, it’s critical to interface these downers with CPA’s 12 Steps and to receive daily support from my buddies during meetings and phone contacts. Although my terminal illness tries to waylay me into believing that I am alone, that no one cares, this is gobbledygook. Together, we surrender, afresh, to Higher Power and live.

Only the Weaver’s shears will set me free, whenever, however. Until then, like the twittering sparrows outside my study window, I watch and listen. It’s about growing spiritually, one day at a time, with still more opportunities to unfurl my birthright.

 

 

Leg and hip wounds from a cannonball led to the psychic conversion of an arrogant Basque mercenary. His name was Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), Catholic priest and teacher, theologian, and co-founder of the Company of Jesus (Jesuits).

Toward the end of his life shortened by the outbreak of malaria in Rome, it is said that he composed this prayer of surrender:

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all I have and call my own. You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me.

Step III echoes this surrender of will and life to the God of my understanding: Both entail firm decision. Given my jitters with the emergence of new symptoms, for instance yesterday’s neuropathy in my feet, my will collapses. God’s love and grace are not enough: Fears like smoldering fires nip my surrender into shards. Only when leveled by emotional pain do I renew my decision and begin my day afresh. It’s all about obedience of the heart, and I’ve much to learn.

Yet, my spiritual growth deepens, and that’s all that matters. It’s the exercise that counts, messy though it is.

Note: Of special solace is the St. Louis Jesuits’ rendition of this prayer on YouTube.

 

 

I smiled recording this dream:

It is sunny, late afternoon. The events of Field Day are winding down, and with it, the end of the school term. A festive air animates hundreds of students, their families, and the teaching staff. As I stroll along the grounds I am grateful for my co-workers. A male teacher greets me, cups his hands around my face, and thanks me for my help. Jeannie Dunn, the school’s athlete, stops by and speaking in breathless tones, tells me of her last event: a thirty-minute run around the perimeter of the school grounds. Then she takes off.

 In the dream it was Field Day, suggestive of daily play with my word processor. The setting felt like the all-girls academy I had worked in as a young nun: a complex of stone buildings set upon rolling hills, surrounded by black and white oak trees; its beauty and orderliness suggested the present container for my spirit in which I thrive. Whole in body and spirit, I have been healed of many fissures that had crippled me. The male teacher’s intimate gesture spoke of the loving kindness deep in my psyche that desires communion. And Jeannie Dunn suggested my ongoing fitness related to this critical work.

No wonder my smile! The dream feels compensatory: a reversal of what had occurred when teaching as a young nun, hobbled by multiple psychophysical issues. Such stories release festering failures from the past and affirm the direction of my present life path. My play only deepens.

 

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