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This is what I will tell my heart, and so recover hope: the favors of Yahweh are not all passed, his kindnesses are not exhausted. They are renewed every morning. Lamentations 3:21-22

We will never know who inserted these prophetic words into the Third Lamentation, with its heart rendering images: Jerusalem’s desolation at the hands of the Chaldeans, the spoliation of the Temple, and the exile and starvation of its people that occurred in 587 B.C.E. But this shift in tone bespeaks awareness of sin, compunction of heart, a need for forgiveness, and memory of Yahweh’s former graciousness.

And later in Third Lamentation we hear, Yahweh, I called on your name from the pit… crying…You came near that day…and said, “Do not be afraid.”

Such prophetic texts like those in the Book of Lamentations still bolster flagging spirits and offer insight into the mystery of iniquity. As dastardly as it appears, its stinking offal is not what it seems: its admission restores us to the fullness of Life, even now.

Steeped in pitfalls of my humanness for long decades, I find myself like the Jews, familiar with misery…in darkness, and without any light. But such psychic bottoms break apart with grace, freely given and received, together with the invitation to give thanks for yet another deliverance through CPA’s Steps VI and VII.

So morning’s light streams into darkness: It reconfigures bones, brilliances psyches, and romps with hope into the next moment.

 

I awoke with this dream:

It is late afternoon. I wander around a hilly wooded estate. Beneath the milky sky winter’s austerity deepens my melancholy as I kick piles of leaves that litter the path. Stringy sweet potato vines spill over the sides of a cobalt blue planter and trail along the ground. I’m dismayed to discover the leaves are heavy, molten together. Exhausted, I head toward the great house and one of the bedrooms. I huddle beneath the comforter. No one is around.

 In the dream I have little energy that mirrors ILD, a terminal lung condition I’ve had for several years; the late afternoon suggests its duration and perhaps the length of time I can expect before passing.

Images of death abound. What had been a greening woods filled with bird trills, insects, squirrels and rabbits have been silenced by killing frosts; burnt beyond recognition are leaves of sweet potato vines and tree debris languishing in wind-tossed piles. No warmth to warm my body. No moisture to soothe the scarred lung tissue.

I am alone. Rage crimps my psyche, eviscerates change. How water this acutely dry condition? How restore urgently needed color? I need help.

Then I remember. “In my Father’s house, there are many rooms…” I’ve been welcomed here before. Again, someone in the estate has made my oversized bed, for sleep, for more dreams and more direction, one day at a time—and the rains do come, despite shortness of breath and weakness and fatigue.

 

 

Like a cunning lover, last week’s snowfall wooed autumn’s dismantling within the rigors of winter: Leafy branches sported white overcoats; spindly shrubs stooped in supplication; fence posts peaked with medieval turrets. A solitary cardinal flashed toward a neighbor’s woodshed, then alighted and preened like a celebrity caught within the blitz of paparazzi. From a snow mound poked the handle of a red wagon. Flurries outlined swirls of breezes that fashioned ghostly images upon the asphalt street and tousled the green muffler flapping around the snowman’s neck nearby. Only random cars moved about.

All was still: Its pregnant hush evoked an OH! The first morning of creation must have felt like that.

Such OHs burst with silence, trip breathing, balloon joy, and open onto the companioning Sacred within our depths. Yet a tinge of sadness lingers in their wake, such OHs! so fleeting and evanescent. Would that we could hold onto them. That being said, we can still watch for them and give thanks when experienced.

And this year, do watch for OHs! around Thanksgiving tables, graced with family and friends. Go beyond well-worn traditions and bring something new: a new dish, a new prayer, a new listening.

“Bidden or not bidden, God is present.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

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