Friday, May 07, 2021

Out and About – Autumn 2020

Yes, I know, it some ways The Wild Reed seems very much to be a work in progress, especially when it comes to documenting the events of last year – a time significant for being both a global pandemic year and a tremendously important election year here in the U.S.

Above: On Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, my friend Kathleen and I joined with about 20 others to “banner for Biden” on the 36th St. bridge over Interstate 35W in south Minneapolis. (And, yes, I’m wearing my Marianne 2020 hoodie!)

For The Wild Reed’s coverage of Election Day 2020, click here.

Right: The personal protective equipment (PPE) I wear when visiting COVID-19 patients in my work as the Palliative Care spiritual health provider (or chaplain) at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids, MN.

Above: The beauty of autumn, “season of transformation and surrender.”

Above: My “best mate” Deandre – November 7, 2020.

Above and left: My friend Adnan.

On Sunday, November 22, 2020, Adnan and I visited the Prayer Tree and spent time taking in the natural beauty of Minnehaha Creek in south Minneapolis.

For more images, along with some words of insight and wisdom on the seasons of both autumn and winter; seasons that, in the north, often blend together in the month of November, click here.

Above: My buddy Raul – September 25, 2020.

Above: Friends Brian, Rick, and Kathleen – September 25, 2020.

Right: Before enjoying time on Kathleen’s balcony, Brian, Rick and I had a lovely outdoor lunch at Longfellow Grill, right on the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. Note the obligatory mask in my shirt pocket! Actually, because of the pandemic, I think this was the first time I’d eaten out in a while.

Above: Friends Matt and Joan – October 8, 2020.

Above: Standing center with friends (from left) Noelle, Liana, Amelia, Madeleine, and Fred – October 11, 2020.

Above: Amelia playing hopscotch! (Eddie also tried to play but he wasn’t very good at it.)

Above: Friends (from left) Kathleen, Brigid, Mike, Jane, and Sue Ann – October 10, 2020.

Above: Friends Jane, Mike, and Brigid – October 8, 2020.

Above: With my work colleagues Nikki and Angela – October 2, 2020.

Above and below: On Sunday, October 4, 2020, I went for a walk with my dear friend Carol along part of the Winchell Trail, a largely unpaved trail that winds about 2.5 miles along the west bank of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, from Franklin Avenue to Minnehaha Park.

For more images, click here.

Above and below: The first snowfall of the season – Tuesday, October 20, 2020.

For more images, click here.

On October 23, 2020, I turned 55.

To be honest, I really don’t recall celebrating my birthday, probably because I didn’t. I simply wasn’t in the mood. You see, just a few days before my birthday I heard that my friend Mahad had suffered a stroke while undergoing heart surgery. From what his brother Adnan told me, Mahad was now in a “persistent vegetative state,” meaning that even though his breathing was occurring naturally, he had no signs of cognitive awareness. In short, my friend was in a comatose state characterized as “awake but unaware.” He remains in this state to this day.

My birthday post of 2020 became, in part, a tribute to my friend.

The news about Mahad was devastating to many, his family especially. Personally, I continue to experience a deep sense of grief around the loss of my friend, a young man who had experienced many hardships and set-backs, and, yes, had made mistakes, but who had finally began putting his life together in good and hopeful and healthy ways.

Mahad’s mother has decided that no one outside the immediate family can visit Mahad in the long-term care facility in which he now lives.

At first this was a hard thing to accept. In anticipation of visiting him, I’d even bought a bouquet of flowers with a message on a card. If I couldn’t bring these to Mahad myself, I decided, I would use them to create a special space in my home of remembrance and prayer. It was while I was in prayer and reflection a short time later that I came to the realization that although I could not connect with my friend in the realm of matter and form, I could connect with him in the realm of energy and spirit.

And so that’s what I started to do in the late autumn of 2020. And it’s what I’ve continued to do on a regular basis ever since. It’s like I open a portal, a spiritual portal, that I trust brings Mahad and I together in a very special way. Once together in this way, I do the things I would do if I was physically with him. I talk to him, read to him, play our shared favorite music, pray with and for him. . . . And I listen for the ways he reaches out to me.

Following is the prayer that I say to begin this special time of connection.

I call upon the Sacred within and beyond me.

I call upon the spirits of balance and wholeness within all things – myself, the trees, the animals, the elements.

I call upon those I love who have gone beyond and who dwell now in the heart of transforming Love.

I call upon them all to be with me and to help me as I draw the healing energy of the universe into this sacred time and space.

I call upon them to be with me as I focus and direct and send this energy to my friend Mahad – to his body, his mind, his spirit, his relationships, his life.

May this sending forth create a bridge of connection between us, bringing us together in the realm of spirit and energy. Together in this way, we express and share our love and support for one another.

Blessed be.

NEXT: Winter 2020-2021

Autumn 2020 Wild Reed posts of note:
A Prayer of Autumn Welcoming
“One of the Most Beautiful Songs Ever Produced”
Marianne Williamson on America’s “Cults of Madness”
Honoring An Icon
David Sirota: Quote of the Day – October 2, 2020
Autumn: Season of Transformation and Surrender
Heather Cox Richardson on the Unravelling of President Trump
From the Palliative/Spiritual Care Bookshelf II | III | IV | V | VI
About Those Militias
Meeting Truth
Autumn Snowburst
Moments of Wonder
Progressive Perspectives on Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee, Amy Coney Barrett
The Sad Fate for Amy Comey Barrett
Chadwick Boseman’s Timeless Message to Young Voters: “You Can Turn Our Nation Around”
Heather Cox Richardson on the Origin of the American Obsession with “Socialism”
Hallowtide Reflections
Election Eve Thoughts
We Cannot Allow a Biden Win to Mean a Return to “Brunch Liberalism”
Election Day USA, 2020
“Now Is the Time to Reaffirm Our Belief in Democracy”
Bye Bye
“As Much the Sounding of An Alarm As a Time for Self-Congratulations”
Republicans Don’t Care About American Democracy
Congratulations, Shirley!
Progressive Perspectives on the 2020 U.S. Election Results
November Musings
Chadwick Boseman’s Final Film Role: “A Reed Instrument for Every Painful Emotion”
Celebrating a Special Day
Cosmic Connection
Cornel West: Quote of the Day – December 3, 2020
Late Autumn Light
Trump’s Legacy
Norman Solomon: Quote of the Day – December 16, 2020
Boseman on Wilson

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Out and About – Summer 2020
Out and About – Spring 2020
Out and About – Winter 2019-2020
Out and About – Autumn 2019

For previous Out and About series, see: 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020

Images: Michael J. Bayly.

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