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Midnight—my neighborhood, bone-quiet. Yet, strident voices in my psyche rouse me from deep sleep, prodding me to get a snack. I am hungry, not having eaten sufficiently during the day. Work on the Memorial Mass had consumed me: My emotions ran high selecting suitable hymns from the St. Louis Jesuits that had inspired years of prayer at The College Church.

Four hours later, the same voices pull me from sleep, prod me to sit at my word processor, and write. It is dark, chilly in my study, the whir of the concentrator in the next room. Recall of the accompanying dream story could have specified the disorder—It must be about listening.

Three hours later, I awake to another dream: It is quiet. Outside my window crews of workmen have removed centuries-old oak trees and excavated deep holes in the ground for new foundations.

 More work still to be done—more trust and surrender to the Contractor’s plan. Again, I clamber onto the path and start out.

 

 

If it was Friday, it was housework. Dusting, vacuuming, scrubbing, sweeping, mopping—I did it all. Sometimes laundry spilled over into Saturdays. For decades, it had been that way—but then change upset my routine.

It was another Friday, June 30, 2017, sunny and humid. If I didn’t hurry with my vacuuming, I’d be late for my Pilates hour. What pride I took when others commented upon my toned eighty-one year-old body; it had served me well, despite rheumatoid arthritis.

Suddenly, pain knifed me as I hit the hardwood floor in the dining area, my sandal looped around the cord of the vacuum cleaner. I rolled upon my back and howled, then sat up to assess the damage. I had fallen before but it had been a few years. My left elbow quivered as if massaged by sea winds; and my crazed left hip snarled into the universe—I needed help. During the ambulance ride to the emergency room, I wondered if this fall would be a life-changing event. It was.

In time, the fractures healed, but lost was the limited energy of my former life. Housework was out of the question.

Then I remembered Chrissy who had washed my grimy windows the previous year. Yes, she could help me—but her help far exceeded cleaning my house. Her quiet manner, her cheerfulness, her attention to detail have freshened my living space, handled minor repairs, watered my houseplants, polished whatever needed to be polished, even decorated for Christmas. How I look forward to Fridays and her warm hug.

 

 

“Whoa! Will you look at that! Wow!” Whistles and muffled chatter filled the kids on our court, their boots sliding upon the packed snow—five inches of it—that had fallen during the night. With ruddy cheeks exposed to biting winds, they looked like newly minted explorers wearing snow gear of reds, pinks, and blacks. Some rubbed mittened fists in their eyes, unaccustomed to the sun’s brilliance. Others lugged shovels. Still another sat in the snow and circled handfuls around him, his mouth forming a perfect O.

It wasn’t long before a plan formed. The tallest boy pulled a red wagon and gathered the others around him, their capped heads huddled, until smiles and more exclamations resounded up and down the court. More shovels appeared. The work began. Instead of banking snow from driveways and sidewalks along the curb, it was dumped into the wagon; then pulled to the entrance of the court and emptied into a large yellow bucket. More hands hefted buckets of snow until turrets of a fort appeared. Hours passed.

Still their plan was not fully actualized—there would be another fort built at the end of the cul-de-sac. Their gusto only mounted.

As I marveled at the kids’ industry, I wondered if their imaginations perceived their forts as safe places from which to thwart persons having no business on our court.

Or on a deeper level, whether they intuited such places with their God as,“… fortress, … stronghold.” (Psalm 18:2)

 

 

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