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This morning, a preacher proclaimed on AM radio, “Change is inevitable. At times, Life demands it.”

His words seared themselves upon my awareness and blocked out the remainder of his text. Yes, I mused, he was speaking to me. I blinked hard, pulled myself up in my armchair, and flipped off the radio. His use of the verb, demand, stung where it needed to sting and left a gaping hole: Within, writhed glistening snakes of resistance that leered at me.

So wedded to my daily self-care routine for months, I could not imagine more diminishment that would impinge upon my functioning. That occurred with yesterday’s bout of food poisoning and the experience of a new level of sinking weakness. Slowly introducing soft foods has helped, somewhat.

But the power of the preacher’s words also caved in my denial of weight loss and daily walks and use of the NuStep at the YMCA. I thought I could fix these changes by eating bowls of ice cream at bedtime; it had worked in 1982 and 2012—No matter that sugars and dairy had triggered joint inflammations.

So it’s all about accepting the unacceptable: the physical death of my body. The preacher’s words, “Life demands it.” still goads this process over which I have no control. Resistance is futile. The only way out is through each twenty-four hours allotted me by God’s will. I’ve no other recourse. It is working …

Ahead of us, it was just starting: October’s pizzazz like the carnival barker, with top hat and swinging a gold cane.

The asphalt path, still moist from yesterday’s rains and imprinted by a pastiche of saffron and rusts, was its first welcome. More came in quick succession: mimosas and maples still clinging to their dried and torn leaves, resembling half-opened parasols; sun-warmed winds teasing tendrils of vines curlicued around plank fences; islands of leafy shade inviting the next footfall; and within a large evergreen, twittering sparrows sounding like jokesters filled with stories.

Another season, outstanding for its brilliance-to-faded beauty is upon us. Even its eventual stripping has its own message, for senses attuned to it. Within each revelation comes wisdom, trust in the Changer, and ultimate meaning.

All the more to intentionally focus upon each day’s pizzazz and listen for the joy. It’s there.

Outside my study window, another lesson unfolds. Dove-gray skies feel pregnant with showers but only release droplets upon single leaves of the viburnum, then sets them aquivering; those surrounding them remain still. This image speaks of the seeming randomness of physical death: One is struck while others are engaged in life, until their turn—or so it seems.

But a plan far greater than our human perception exists, and it’s not of our doing. At times, the appearance of a life shortened by accident or disease compounds the grief of loss, the thwarting of opportunities, and the shortening of longevity. Individuals must re-group and move on with their lives.

Since mid-June, death has stilled the breathing of friends, relatives, and neighbors, losses that crimped my former world, still further. Questions of how it was, remain unanswered.

Instead of succumbing to loneliness’s pinch, better to pray for acceptance with the mantra:

Your will, not mine, be done.

Such prayer works its wisdom into the marrow of my bones and enlarges faith in God’s plan for my transition. For the present, like the leaf without the droplet, I cling to the viburnum bush.

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