The meditations of springtime making up the mid-section in this book were written four years ago, the year before I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I wrote them because friends had sometimes asked for my thoughts about issues of belief. They are a vision of sacramental faith in open-ended community. Its people are of all races, classes, cultures, and sexualities, living as part of an institution where they can play out conflicts and negotiations while yet finding bonds of kindness and communal meaning, even love, because the sacraments engage their many gifts of creativity.

The next year when I was in the hospital during a research stay in Germany–too sick to travel home for initial treatment–I often thought of these meditations. Would they be tossed out with old papers? I did make it home, after all, to continue with treatments. I also gained a new angel of vision on what I wanted to do, in however long a time I would live. With ovarian cancer, one hopes to see a moment five years out from the end of surgeries and treatments. I’m still in treatment.

Here the meditations are framed, before and after, with two stories that give them context. The first story introduces me, the mediator, by telling of my first year of cancer treatment, a year of doctors, friends, and family who took me in and took me up.

The other story is fictional but grounded, a tale of one day in the year 2100. It moves the vision of the meditations into a time when humankind has survived the famines, epidemics, and ecological degradation that demographers and futurologists predict, for the coming century.

October 31, 1999