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His eyes studied his sneaker foot, with scarring on his calf resembling vanilla ice cream oozing through a chocolate bar. Red shorts concealed the stump of his other leg as he crutch-walked toward his van parked in the handicapped zone of the YMCA; with each step, the swim bag around his neck rolled across his meaty chest. Contentment flooded his persona like sunset-sky, having accomplished yet another challenge, this day.

Seated in the all-weather armchair outside the entrance of the YMCA smiled a silver-haired windblown senior, her eyes alive with spirit as she waited for Call-a-Ride. Next to her edematous legs stood her collapsible stool. A blue dressing on her right forearm suggested the placement of a shunt, used for dialysis patients. No television-watcher, is she.

And during a rest break in the lobby, I watched a purposeful young woman glide through the opened doors of the entrance, her brunette curls bouncing upon narrow shoulders, wearing an ankle-length cotton dress that concealed her missing leg. Also well practiced in crutch-walking, she thought little of her limits—there was life to be lived, to the fullest, as noted by the tan briefcase slung across her back.

And pumping away on the NuStep machine in the gym was Lou, a great-grandfatherly type with sparse white hair meandering across his lined forehead. His rumpled T-shirt and shirts mirrored his relaxed speech. A smile for everyone, he continues teaching whoever is willing to learn. 

These encounters at the YMCA obliterated my earlier self-pity. We all have our limits, visible and invisible. I’m so grateful for mine.

At 7 A.M., noise from a workman’s truck near my home roused me to this dream:

I’ve been hired to manage a large estate in the United Kingdom. I am well, my present age. Two white-haired bachelor brothers live there. I’m attracted to one of them. Later, I’m driving on the wrong side of the road and someone corrects me. I make the change.

My inner world appears busy, charged with managing a large estate that reeks of entitlement, privilege. Such were the imprints from my beginnings that sheltered me from the life’s hardships, and because of which, I did not develop in many areas. Relationships limped, at best.

In the dream, I am well, my present age—Perhaps a glimpse of what is to come: energetic, willingness to help others, compassionate, at least I hope so, since lifelong breathing issues have compromised such involvement. It heartens me to know that my present body, afflicted with chronic illness and pain, will have its last breath, “in the twinkling of an eye…” (I Cor 15: 52) and will change.

My attraction to one of the white-haired bachelor brothers speaks of my instinctive need for an intimate companion, still active in my psyche. Perhaps in the life to come, this need will be fulfilled in the vision of the Holy, already glimpsed in prayer—Such bliss serves as windows opening onto the Eternal.

In the meantime, I’m glad to know that someone is around the corner to correct my driving on the wrong side of the road, monstrous psychic snags I still create, especially when noting further diminishment of my body. This is working out …

Grace is like ebony wetness seeping into the chinks of divided hearts: These, too, must be transformed—and so it is, instant by instant.

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