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At 6:30 A.M., I woke with this curious dream:

I am angry with the Swiss psychologist, Dr. C. G. Jung. All fired up, I prepare a paper with my disgruntlement, then reserve a conference room for my audience. I also make posters, handouts—anything to carry my message. The evening for the presentation arrives. To my chagrin, behind me rushes a very young Dr. Jung wearing a sparkling gold bodysuit that delineates his bearded face, musculature, even his genitals. He does not see me. Enthusiasts escort him to another conference room. I feel wilted.

In the dream, I am my present age, but healthy and hopping mad at the Swiss psychologist, Dr. C. G. Jung—No matter my having entered Jungian analysis in 1988 with a Zurich-trained analyst that initiated the quest toward authentic self-hood. Having been helped so much, why the projection of anger toward Jung, the retaliation?

Perhaps this behavior conceals an older one of impetuous thinking/action when riled up? Before embracing Twelve-Step recovery, this was my modus operando; it can still emerge.

Yet, the image of Dr. Jung wearing the sparkling gold bodysuit that delineates his bearded face, musculature, even his genitals did remind me of the Oscar statues awarded recently by the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences for last year’s nominees. True, this year’s multiple winner, Nomadland, appears a must-see. But in my perception, the film industry, whether for theater or television, has collapsed its output within the sick culture that surrounds us: its values, eroded, its vision, clouded or nonexistent.

For those aware of this bankruptcy, grief smarts the edges of life. For such soul sicknesses, many sought dream analysis with Dr. C. G. Jung. Certainly, I have benefited as my life continues emptying like sands in the hourglass, one grain at a time. There’s no going back …

At 3:30 A.M., three glimpses into my psyche woke me: Christmas, Jane Schaberg, and ghettos. I had no recall of the dream story associated with these images, but chose to work with them.

Christmas, not in the sense of holidays with parties, gifts, and family gatherings, has always evoked rich associations with the Sacred, recognized and revered as a child. The Son-of-God-made-Man has companioned my efforts to incarnate in this existence, given my reluctance, from the womb, to do so. Gospel teachings, hidden within Twelve Step living, have opened me further to my humanness and still contributes to “the joy of living,” the result of practicing Step Twelve. When my end time comes, I will have substantive gifts to surrender to the Sacred. Today’s Christmas heartens me deeply.

My surprise in seeing Jane Schaberg (1938 – 2012) in my psyche also stirred me. I still remember her astounding insight of loving God with her whole mind, a passion that led her to advanced theological studies and worldwide attention for her biblical articles and books, all the while teaching at Detroit-Mercy University. I still hear the roar of her laughter as I write these lines. Another companion to help me along …

And ghettos, the third image that visited me in my dream—For decades, my work with home care elderly patients exposed me with ghetto living in New Orleans, Houston, and St. Louis where I had lived. From these spirits seasoned by poverty, poor health, backbreaking work, and other hardships, I leaned about acceptance, humility, and faith in God. Yet, my learning is far from finished as my impoverishment still rankles. This is working out …

Covid seems to have a mind of its own—a stripping that flattens initiative, that dissects energy into unseemly burps, that short-shifts plans into uselessness, and impales spirits upon re-runs. Nothing seems to work the way it used to. Patience thins like threadbare overcoats on city pigeons perched upon window ledges.

A bleary scenario, to be sure, but not unlike November’s stripping, also in process.

No longer do winds tickle leaves from branches; they rip them asunder, strewing bits onto gables, creek beds, and wooded paths. Swirls of yellowish-browns skitter along sidewalks, bed down in gutters, spike in woody hedges, mass atop listless perennials. A solitary flame-tree cackles at this despoliation, until its own during the next windstorm.

Juvenile squirrels frisk around tree trunks, then gawk, stunned. Canadian geese meddle about like staid sergeants on a murder case. Swarms of blackbirds swoop and caw, echoing distress. Our world sighs in muted grays and browns as death stalks in between the next breath.

There is something to learn here if we are willing. It’s about acceptance of what is, including the cyclical nature of change. True, Covid has bruised every institution, modified communication, left a swath of the ill and dying upon our planet, and altered esteemed values—substantial losses, admittedly. But whoever said that we were more than human? That suffering wasn’t wrapped within everyone’s birthright?

Wounded as we are, hushness envelops us with the grace of waiting for what we know not: There will be some form of greening, if we are still and watchful.

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