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This morning’s emptiness rankled—Nothing to blog about and time was passing.

So I looked up emptiness in J. Rodale’s The Synonym Finder and discovered entries related to things, time, scarcity, mood, and speech. Mine was lodged between hollowness and exhaustion: the indefinable perimeter of my imagination and its splayed energy. I was certain that behind this emptiness teemed vibrant images yet to be developed. I just needed to dig deeper in memory.

During much of my life, emptiness experiences triggered hidden landmines, their shocks plunging me deeper into introversion. Around me, the world was not to be trusted. Yet, tripwires still snagged my shoes. In the wake of such attacks, I soothed my distress with shopping. With the change of seasons, I donated armfuls of clothing to Good Will. Yet, emptiness still stung.

My 1991 joining of AA modified some of this disorder. The Fourth Step with its rigorous and moral inventory launched my first honest self-evaluation; its completion revealed a larger sense of who I really was. Seasonal deliveries to Good Will dwindled, then stopped. Rather than my attire speaking to the world around me, I learned to cultivate a personal voice. Yet, occasional emptiness still happens, as this morning.

Yet, my present sense of emptiness has paradoxical value in Jesus’s First Beatitude, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of God: It breathes the spirit of Twelve-Step Recovery. The less of my ego, the more for Spirit to flourish.

So, within my impoverishment/emptiness brim the untold riches of Kingdom living. At the top of the steps each morning, light colors the world with fresh grace. Everything looks different, even my transition.

It was October 1966, then, a young professed in our Academy. Stressed by intermittent knee pain and overwhelmed by teaching and surveillante responsibilities, I fingered a slim paperback in the pocket of my petticoat and ached for more of Abraham Heschel’s Man’s Quest for God – Studies in Prayer and Symbolism (1954). I had been forewarned to keep this book underwraps; its Jewishness smarted against acceptable norms in the Catholic world in which I lived.

But Heschel’s words shimmered off the pages and left track marks upon my psyche—I would return at a later time.

These words still shimmer, but integrated at a deeper level than decades before. Central to Heschel’s theology is what he calls divine pathos: God’s continuing need for us as co-creators in his multiple expanding universes—an understanding Heschel gleaned from his studies of the Talmud and kabbalistic and Hasidic writings.

No matter that the prophets and Jesus of Nazareth decried the hardness of heart they encountered along dusty Palestinian roads, natives filled with self-absorption, haughtiness, and stingy spirits. Similar avoidance of collaboration with Creator God exists today.

Yet, God persists in His offer.

Stripped of its religious trappings, co-creation again appears in the Eleventh Step of Alcoholics Anonymous: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. The handful that brings love, harmony, and peace where before there was none do experience shimmering life.

Such is the viable antidote for our world, no matter who is in power.

Daily blogging continues building a foundation within my psyche, intimately related to living with terminal illness. Still far from its acceptance, I am no longer at odds with it, even name fresh insights into this mystery, grace. Each day that passes, the urgency to compose deepens as I discover my authentic self for the first time in my life. Curious, that I never have to root around for something to write about. It just comes.

Such requires listening for precise words at any time of day or night, entering them into my word processor, revising phrases and punctuation for more effectiveness, and scrapping drafts of pieces in favor of more exact renderings. Such requires a consciousness that I rarely activated before the onset of my terminal illness, and with it, a strange energy that sustains my chronic fatigue.

As months pass I’m aware of having discarded concepts, attitudes, and some behaviors that no longer serve me. Upon this foundation-in-process, I stand with a newfound confidence and consider my end time; I discern and welcome Precious God’s coaching from significant others, from dreams, and from CPA’s 12 Step work with my sponsor. Daily, I surrender the outcome.

In this process, Jesus’s parable about foundations also speaks to me. He likened persons who came to him, listened to his words, and acted upon them to builders securing their homes upon rock beds, lest floods destroy them: to accomplish this, they had to dig very deep. Some mornings beyond exhaustion, I still compose, but lean heavily upon my foundation teeming with Light.

And another blog happens for my ongoing instruction. My gratitude is boundless.

 

 

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