We resist the temptation to succumb to depression though the walls are painted a shade of insipid green.
We resist as we look over the view of factory yards and the overcast sky.
We resist being angry with life as we sit trying to hear the dialogue of the film on the laptop over the patient’s conversing in corridors and the clashing of food trays being slotted back into the food trolleys.
We smile when a cranky old lady holding her husband by the arm with one hand and a portable fan in the other walks towards us in the ‘Dolphin Room.’
I hear her muttering to him, “Just look at these young folk who think they can just take over the place” then unapologetically opens the door to announce they’ve been sent to sit in here while they wait for a bed.
“Of course that is fine!” I respond moving Sam’s drip pole that’s stacked three levels high with chemo and fluids and make space for them in this tiny room which was probably once a broom cupboard. In the same angry tone she informs me she’ll need a power point for her fan, noticing that both points in the wall are occupied, one by Sam’s drip, the other by the laptop.
“That’s okay then, we’ll go somewhere else,” I respond faking all the grace I can muster.
“We’ll plug into that power board you have there!” she replies and at that I feel the blood rush to my head.
“That power board has my daughter’s chemo connected to it and you will not be plugging in your fan.”
Her husband shakes his head apologetically in a way that reminds me of Richard in my favourite British comedy ‘Keeping up Appearances’.
“Well, they can’t just take over like that, dear.” She continues as they make their way back down the corridor.
We are so thrilled on Friday night when two of the nurses find us in the ‘Rainforest Room’ at the end of our nightly screening of ‘Master Chef’ to congratulate us that they have moved all our stuff into the single room. They are so excited for us! It’s like we have won a prize.
We enter the room and Sam throws both arms in the air. “Yes, my own room!” and almost twirls but realizes she’ll be tangled in tubes and
dancing close with Darren the Drip. I’m slightly taken aback despite her victory dance. I’m back in the room we found ourselves in five months ago. My mind flashes back to that first night on the blue vinyl chair that folded up on me every time I moved. I’m back at the place where it all began. Stuck in the chill of a room that has nothing to cushion the shock and despair, nothing of beauty to distract my gaze.
I am Becky (from ‘The Little Princess’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett) at the top of the rickety staircase, hidden in a room behind a loose paling of wood. Forgotten!
And then I remember to focus on the truth of Him who has called me. I take the hands of my ‘Sarah’ and we imagine that our deserted attic
is furnished with bounty and provision. The enemy may have sent us here to mock us. He may think he can convince us that there is no hope but we know the truth. Our Father will turn this around.
“Not by might, not by power but by my Spirit, says the Lord.” Zechariah 4:6
On Saturday night we studied Zechariah together.
The Angel of the Lord stands by every night and day. He stands by when I leave her alone in that chilly room with the reflective tinted window that acts like a mirror by night and distorts the colours of the sky by day. There are no curtains or soft home furnishings to buffet the sterile room. There are no lamps to create a mood but rather humming fluorescents above our heads attracting nothing except little fruit flies.
The Angel of the Lord stands by her when the evil night time nurse verbalizes her shock at seeing my Sam in her sleep hat, commenting that she forgets it’s a wig she wears by day. Like it was with Joshua in Zechariah 3:1 “The guiding angel showed me…Satan standing at Joshua’s right hand to be his adversity and to accuse him.” And though the words are meant for harm the words wash off her. Sam and I stand on God’s word together and “Return to the stronghold [of security and prosperity] prisoners of hope” Zechariah 9:12
This same evil nurse refused to check the blood levels or call the doctor on Mothers Day so that we could get home for lunch. Yet she is the one who misses out when the other nurses, doctors, social workers, orderlies and even cleaning staff gather in our room for conversations just as the children snuck into the attic for stories on Sarah’s bed in ‘The Little Princess’.
Surely the Lord has “prepared a table before us in the presence of our enemies.” Psalm 23:5 and “The Lord will be a wall of fire round about her and I will be the glory in the midst of her.” (Zechariah 2:5) And again, like Sarah, we find a piece of chalk and mark the boundary. By the lamplight of God’s word we consider in His promises and our responsibility.
“And the Lord answered the angel who walked with me with gracious and comforting words. So the angel who talked with me said to me, “Cry out.”
So we pray together that through all of this, God will use our lives to establish His kingdom in the earth. That the heart of compassion he is placing within us will be powerful for healing and salvation in others.
“Sing and rejoice O Daughter of Zion; for behold I come and I will dwell in the midst of you. And many shall join themselves to the Lord in that day and shall be My people. And I will dwell in the midst of you.” Zechariah 2:10,11
So just like ‘Sarah’ we remind ourselves that ‘all girls are princesses.’ We have a responsibility to rise up and to be all He has called us to be. In spite of persecution and opposition, in spite of evil nurses with issues and bitter old women grieving because their husband has cancer! For who are they but “a great mountain of human obstacles …they shall become a plain [a mere molehill]!” (How good is God’s word?) “Grace, grace to it.” Zechariah 4:7
Sam and I feast on His word. We exchange revelations, dreams for the future, reflections from the past. He will make a way even when there is no way. Highways in the desert.
“The King’s daughter in the inner part of the palace is all glorious; her clothing is inwrought with gold. And she will be brought to the King in raiment of needlework; with the virgins, her companions who follow her will be brought to You.”
Tonight, as I write this Sam is receiving the last bag of chemotherapy for the first round on this new protocol. When the doctor is happy with the blood results she’ll be allowed home. Then we’ll return 3 times a week for blood tests until the levels are high enough to return again. Please pray that the molecular residual disease is disappearing. Pray for our miracle. Pray for a strong recovery. For more specific pray requests that are updated regularly click on the link in the ‘Blog Roll’ called “Prayers for Sam”
After typing all this into my I phone notebook and sending it off to Bronte for editing Sue and Georgia arrived with a massive basket from Silvia, laden with tureens containing soup, pasta, sour dough bread, silver cutlery, linen cloths, fine china and we dined in the Rainforest Room a meal fit for princesses. Sue spoiled us with Lindtt chocolate, lemonade, peach ice tea and mini magnums. Georgia and Sam laughed together like sisters do. Indeed the bounty of our God is great.