Yellow is the colour of daffodils and wattle
And the baby ducks at our back gate
White is the colour of daisies in our garden and baby lambs
White is the colour of clouds sailing by
As I lie on my back on the trampoline
Blue is the colour of ‘forget me nots’ and lavender
And the speckled birds eggs
These are the colours of spring
The smell of jasmine wafts over the fence from Laurie’s garden
I can smell it from far away
The lavender smells as I brush past it with my school bag
And freesia reminds Grandma of her wedding day.
These are the perfumes of spring
I hear the sounds of the ducks quack at our back door, looking for bread
I hear laughter from kids playing outside as the weather changes
I hear the waves, crash on the beach when we go for walks after school.
I hear the sounds of birds tweeting, singing their spring song.
These are the sounds of spring
Longfellow writes “spring means youth, love, song and all that is beautiful in life.” Mummy says that was why I was born in spring.
I love spring. (Emma Froggatt, age 6)
As the air grows warmer, the weight of winter passes.There is new hope in the air. The possibilities of new life abound.Yesterday marked the end of our pilgrimage to RNSH and our reappointment to St Vincent’s hospital in the city.
We are leaving RNSH because Emma and Jack are not a match for Sam’s tissue type and they therefore can not donate stem cells to sustain Sam’s life.The search for a donor went on for many months and during that time Sam endured the most horrendous high dose treatments of chemotherapy. The year has passed by slowly and each day we have sought the face of God for grace enough for that day. A matched unrelated donor (a MUD) was found, two in fact, both from overseas. So then the inquiry began to see if they were still available, still healthy, still willing. The forms were filled out for the Government to approve of this all going ahead, the funds, the travel and the many details of the process that I may never fully comprehend. MUD transplants don’t take place at RNSH so we must transfer to St Vincent’s and one week from today that new journey begins.
In some ways it’s a privilege to be forced into total dependence on God. We are at His feet, completely surrendered, clinging to His word and His faithfulness to perform it. Outside of His word there is little to pin our hope to. We would never choose this path. The rest we enter is not a relaxed, carefree type of rest; instead it requires great vigilance and courage. You can not slip back or allow your heart to be troubled. The rest He requires says “Its in your hands God, she’s on your altar and we wait and we climb to the mountain top ready for you to provide.”
The transplant book prepares you for all the incredibly horrible things that can go wrong. Graft Versus Host Disease can affect any major organ of her body, it can be mild or it can be fatal. So fear creeps in, under the doorway, seeping in like unwanted sewer from a burst pipe. The stench of fear attaches itself to your nostrils awakening your unconscious thoughts. Pulsating through your blood stream, it leaks down into the pit of your belly and its acidity strips your inner lining. It’s in this place that you decide. You remember that God is able, that He is faithful, that He sustains you. You repent for your unbelief and ask for forgiveness. In moments you get right back on track but you have to be determined to walk closely and slowly, in step with Him who is able.
As Bern Williams wrote “The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created spring.”
On sunny, spring days hope is ushered in. New life breathes everywhere just like the poem of my six year old Emma depicted so beautifully at the top of this post. This spring, Emma turns 19 and this morning when we hugged in the corridor, she whispered, “Wake me up when September is over.” My heart is heavy for my sensitive girl who fills my world with sunshine and light! It affects every corner of her world as well. The joy that wells up in Emma has always been my greatest pleasure. She is my delight, my song, my laughter. From the time she was born her laid back carefree ways have alleviated me of all pressure. We understand each other and enjoy hanging out. For many years we have read poetry together in her bed until our eyes could not stay open. This year those precious connections have been so few and far between.
A week from now I plan to move into Sam’s room at St Vincent’s to keep watch over her. I know that the cost of my decision to do so is enormous for Emma, for Jack and for Reid but to me it is necessary.
When I heard that the transplant was referred to as a MUD I immediately thought of Psalm 40 which says “1I waited patiently and expectantly for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up out of a horrible pit [a pit of tumult and of destruction], out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, steadying my steps and establishing my goings.And He has put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many shall see and fear (revere and worship) and put their trust and confident reliance in the Lord.
The English Poet George Herbert wrote, “And here in dust and dirt, O here the lilies of His love appear.” There would be no spring if it were not for the well tilled soils, the barrenness of winter and the season of hibernation. God knows our journey and He is “leaning toward us with favor and regard for us, rendering us fruitful, multiplying us, and establishing and ratifying His covenant with us.” Leviticus 26:9
God has delicately woven promises through every fibre of our lives. His grace is sufficient. He sat in the room with us all this year through every diagnosis, every anaphylactic reaction, and every predicted outcome. I don’t know what the future holds but I know that my God is a God of grace and he is faithful. Spring marks the season of new life. This spring, life comes to us in the form of a matched, unrelated donor. As his stem cells enter Sam’s body, new life enters as well.
Like the caterpillar in the chrysalis, it may come with a struggle, making the wings strong. She merges forth; we will watch and be amazed. Yes, He has put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to my God. “The battle is won, by lifting Jesus higher in the midst of us.” His name is exalted on high.
The colours, smells and sounds of spring are a little different this year but I can feel the hope of new life throbbing in every heartbeat. I dance to the rhythm of His grace. Because when “grace dances, I should dance.” (W.H. Auden) Romans 12:12 tells me “Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer.” Step by step, one day at a time, we live our lives. Grateful to Him who called us and who engraves His miracle touch all over our lives. “Listen,” I remind myself, “to the still small voice of His spirit.” Emma knows the steps of the dance, the rhythm of spring. Like I do with Sam, I place my Emma in God’s hands.
Many years ago God spoke to me from Isaiah 60:4 and I have declared it over my children’s lives. “Lift up your eyes round about you and see! They all gather themselves together, they come to you. Your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be carried and nursed in the arms.” My daughters and my son will be gathered to Reid and I for eternity. It is all part of His magnificent plan.