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A night of multiple dreams from which I recorded these:

2:30 A.M.

It is a balmy night, fireworks illuminating the sky. A festival is underway filled with people of all ages and backgrounds. Their merry-making attracts me.

7:30 A.M.

It is winter, the ground frozen and ice-covered. Lethargic and dispirited, I’m visiting a home care patient in the city who resembles me, not only in appearance but also in behaviors. She does not have much to say. Readmitted to the hospital for the recurrence of her infection, she remains aloof to my offer of prayer. I again visit her upon her discharge home. This time, she asks me to drive with her to her mother’s home. We head outdoors, mindful of our steps lest we slip and fall.

 Both dreams speak from my psyche’s shadowy depths. The first dream seems to counter Minneapolis’s fifth night of rioting and looting, further demoralizing our country with senseless torching of businesses and terrorizing surrounding neighborhoods. Such evil, however vicious, passes with the emergence of daylight and the resiliency of those afflicted. Humbled, tearful, leaning upon strength not their own, they carry forward their story for everyone’s learning: there’s vibrant life despite unjust systems.

The dream also suggests fresh grace of multiple colors, alive and well in my psyche, thrilled by my home-going in the company of others.

In the second dream, my psyche is frozen, inert, stifled by irreversible symptoms and attitudes that mess with acceptance of my dying body. In this story as chaplain, I’m still in control as I sit with this lackluster patient, another image of myself, better served if left alone to find her own God. More pain and suffering will eventually break apart defense mechanisms and open her psyche to radical healing. This has been my experience in hospice, and such will accompany my last breath.

Such dreams prod deeper faith in my spiritual awakening that’s working out, one day at a time. I’m grateful.

 

 

 

 

“Whap! Whap! Whap!” Punch’s painted grin and wild-eyes gave him a demonic look as he smacked a stick across the head of his wife Judy, in retaliation for her nasties. Titters erupted from the audience as we approached the stage. I cringed, tucking my scarf and mittens in the pocket of my coat, then took a seat with others for the puppet show.

It was Mother’s annual Christmas treat, followed by a savory lunch in the Missouri Room at Stix Baer Fuller Department Store. Before the streetcar ride home, we would also view the animated Christmas windows, filled with Santa’s elves and workshop, while icy drafts cut my cheeks and blurred my vision.

As a child, such noisy and exhausting outings scrambled my sensibilities. Yet, I went along; it was expected of me. I had no voice, other than what the puppeteer voiced through me, and that, for much of my life. Like Punch and Judy and their entourage, I fashioned my life in pretense. Few seemed to notice or care.

After years of 12-Step recovery and dream work, I discovered my latent voice and began expressing it in speech and in writing, new words surfacing whenever I needed them. Clarity replaced brain fog and indecision. But old habits are deeply ingrained, and the puppeteer still seduces me within anger’s grip.

More than ever, I cry, “Mercy!”

Fixated upon the pause mode, I squirm like a hapless insect caught within a spider’s web. Time gorges my days, swallowed whole: such teeter upon psychic indigestion, mess with routines of self-care, and plunge me into tomorrows when I’m not ready to go there. My controller still wants to call the shots, despite my practice of Step II, like spidery webs torn asunder by wintry winds.

Yet, like the insect, I remain dazed, powerless to change my present circumstance: I do have ILD with rheumatoid arthritis, a terminal disease that is shortening my life. But how? When? The dailyness of my symptoms renders me half-sick: weak, short of breath, and exhausted. Other annoyances, as well, irk me: Expelling infected mucus from my lungs eats into my afternoons; occasional brain fog scrambles for the next right word, both when speaking and blogging. Even my Dreamer seems to have dumped me.

Then, I remind myself that it’s not as if I’m preparing for an ice cream social.

I still benefit from the gift of time: Its windows correct bouts of impatience, with their disruptive playing cards, and enhance spiritual growth. That, alone, remains important. A second study of The Grace in Dying – How We Transform Spiritually as We Die awaits me; its dense material necessitates a calm mind and an open heart, deeper this time around.

Yet, I have come a long way since last November’s signing on for hospice’s palliative care. This is working out—my heartfelt thanks for coming along.

 

A new day

 

 

 

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