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In the ancient world, potsherds, the broken remains of pots, corresponded to today’s nuisance of plastic; like plastic, the sherds were everywhere, either discarded by their owners or left in the aftermath of wars or natural disasters.

Once broken and patched, the pot could only store dry goods. Water, wines, oils, critical to sustain life, demanded intact vessels.

It should be no surprise that the commonplace sherd was often used metaphorically in the bible in its negative sense. In the book of psalms, we find:

My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.

The image is also found in the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah, the book of Proverbs. Even Job took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.

But ancients also used sherds in a positive sense: to write prophetic texts and messages, to carry hot coals from one house to another, to dip water from springs or cisterns, and to cover cooking pots or storage jars.

The image of the ancient potsherd suggests the global upheaval instigated by Vladimir Putin—Its brokenness sears. Horrific gaming fills the media; killing and maiming and death leave bloody footprints and ravaged spirits; the Face of Evil leers.

Eleven days into Putin’s murderous invasion of Ukraine evidences, in my perception, the power of prayer-sherds hurled into the Universe: small, insignificant on the surface, but effective in spiriting its people, under siege, and slowing down the enemy’s tactics.

Will Ukraine become another broken pot? Become sherds for political analysis?

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 …

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