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Each morning I show up for another sick day of my terminal illness as differentiated from actively dying in Dr. Singh’s book The Grace in Dying. Still handling my ADLs, I fill the hours with blogging, praying, reading, phone and email contacts, resting, and CPA meetings. The little blue pill still supports my functioning. Weekly visits with the hospice nurse and occasional ones from the social worker continue; the chaplain, on medical leave. Time seems to careen like gymnasts hurtling the vault.

Two days ago, however, I was diverted from my routine.

On my bookshelf lay the paperback The Room on Rue Amelie (2018), by Kristin Harmel, which a friend had dropped by months ago. I picked up the novel and scanned the reviews. A kernel of fact held it together: During World War II the Paris resistance developed Comet, an escape route into Spain for Allied pilots shot down over Germany and Nazi-occupied France.

Although the novel afforded me a respite from my usual routine, it was a thin read: Too many characters, too many coincidences, too many clichés, too many gaps in the story line. Withal, the author’s ambition misshaped her story. Yet, I completed the novel, surprised by my critique. The experience prompted my return to studying books with depth, with artistry, with life-lessons. Despite my limits, my imagination still needs feeding.

I could be sick for a long while and life’s fullness still abounds with glimpses of the Sacred.



Trick-or-treaters, masked as princesses, pirates, ghouls, all inflated by assumed identities, will again traipse through our neighborhoods this Halloween. Winds will nip ankles, flit crisped leaves across lawns beneath a crescent moon, and welcoming porch lights invite Knock Knock jokes. With the encroaching darkness, the drama will deepen.

Perhaps you’ve also worn a mask for such haunts when a kid or for Mardi Gras carnivals or for parties? Perhaps watched masked performers in plays or ritual performances of native peoples?

Or even worn masks for protection or disguise?

You are not alone. Peoples from cultures all over the world have donned masks for such purposes. The oldest one, made of stone, dates back to 7000 B.C., the Pre-ceramic Neolithic period; it is kept in the Bible and Holy Land Museum in Paris, France.

But there is another way of considering masks.

As children, beset with lack of nurturing, some develop masks or defense mechanisms that can later thwart significant relationships. Some visit the consulting rooms of psychologists or other helpers and begin the painful process of owning their addictive masks, discarding them, and developing psychic boundaries. For the first time in their lives, they experience their spiritual center and begin living from this Source. They thrive.

I know. I’ve been through this process. And here is the result – I keep it in my study!


Available on Amazon

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