Where the Wild Things Are

In my dreams a few nights ago I found myself rehearsing ‘Where the
Wild Things Are’ by Maurice Sendak. I almost know it by heart though
it’s a long time since we read it together again and again till the
spine sagged on its stringy binding and the cover finally dropped
off. It was Sam’s most favourite book when she was 3, closely followed
by ‘There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake.’ I think I can
still recite that as well.

The words and images that invaded my dreams woke me up, so I decided
to lie there and analyse the text, the meaning, the writer’s purpose. I
looked deep in my memory to find the Teachers College file where I was
sure a paper existed, subtitled ‘Children’s Literature’.( It was one of
my majors back in the 80s. Our lecturer Clare Scott- Mitchell, with
her hyphenated name and the plumb in her throat, made me feel as
though I sat amongst the great minds and thinkers of my time. She was
the hinge that swung open the door to my passion for children’s books-
a door I hope I’ve ushered my  little students  through as  well.) I love
children’s books and children’s films. I love the simple images  they use
to convey such powerful truths.

As I ponder the story of Max, I see the similarities with Sam- little,
fiesty, strong, unintimidated and not afraid to stand up for herself.
Of my 3 children, Sam is the one most likely to answer me back or
question my authority. When she was small, like Max, she also got sent
to her room for being cross and cranky. The deal was that she could
come out again as soon as she was happy. To my delight, her sweet
little voice would ring down the corridor eventually, singing, “I’m
happy now!” I imagine that in her room a forest also grew, that the ceilings hung
with vines and the walls became the world all around. Sam has always
had the capacity to focus, to create and to escape.

Taking her into TBI this week has been the most excruciatingly painful
emotion that I think I’ve had to deal with as a Mum. It’s total
isolation. Each time they put her into the perspex cylinder (packing
her in with bags of rice to shield the parts of her body that should
not be lasered, tying her legs together by her knees, taping her feet,
weighting her arms so she cannot move), they remind her that the
worst part is the sense of being alone.

And I hear God remind me, as they do this, that she is His daughter,
mine on loan. I have to let go, I have to trust Him, I have to leave
her on the altar, time and again.

As I say ‘goodbye’ the bed is elevated so it’s above my head,
they line it up between the cross shaped laser lights, they wheel her
in place, they turn up her CD, they turn out the lights and it’s time
to leave her. Just like Max, an ocean tumbles by with a private boat, this time
marked for SAM. This is a journey just for her. I’ve done all that I
can. I let go, trusting God. Just like the Bible story – I am Hannah, she is Samuel,
I am dropping her off at the temple, fully weaned. I think I’ve known all her life
that this moment would come- the huge letting go, between mother and
child but I never predicted it would be like this.

Train your child in the way they should go and they will not depart
from it. How many times in their lifetime does God teach us this?
1st sleepover, 1st playdate, 1st day at preschool, 1st day at school,
1st dance, 1st date, 1st kiss, 1st time driving, 1st day of Uni, 1st
true love. In that list; 1st day of chemo, 1st day of TBI, 1st day of
100 days for body to accept a stem cell transplant were never a part
of my plan.

In all this though, I know that God knew. He knew before He formed her
in the secret place and He’s been preparing her for this moment.
Jeremiah 1:5- Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of
you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated
and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a
prophet to the nations.

I’m not sure where her mind goes in the TBI alone but I’m sure
she’s battling wild things. All year she’s confronted obstacles so
huge that most of us would have lost control by now.
My daughter and I are learning the secret of trusting, of letting go,
of letting God. It’s big for us both but in different ways.
The road ahead is dark, unknown and paved with uncertainty but God is
waiting for us in the dark forest. The Bible says, ‘fix your eyes on me,
the author and perfector of your faith.’

With focus we reach our desired goal and above all things that goal is
to know God and the power of His resurrection. The same power that
raised Jesus from the dead, lives in us. The world comes at us hard to intimidate                                                             and overwhelm us but we do not fear, He has overcome the world.                                                                               The peace He gives, is not as the world gives. It’s uniquely tangible and on this
shore, as her boat sails past, through weeks and days, and in and out of months to the
place where the wild things are, he holds us close.

I am convinced that cancer is a wild thing that has crept into the
world to dominate and crush us. It’s taking lives, day after day. I
hear the call to rise. I’m asking myself if I’ve been too comfortable,                                                                               have I rested too  much, have I been so concerned with my own life                                                                             that I’ve not cried out and made my God and His earth my priority?

Zechariah1:11- And the men on the horses answered]the Angel of the
Lord Who stood among the myrtle trees and said, We have walked to and
fro through the earth [patrolling it] and behold, all the earth sits
at rest [in peaceful security]

14So the angel who talked with me said to me, Cry out, Thus says
the Lord of hosts: I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a
great jealousy.

15And I am very angry with the nations that are at ease; for
while I was but a little displeased, they helped forward the
affliction and disaster.

16Therefore thus says the Lord: I have returned to Jerusalem with
compassion (lovingkindness and mercy). My house shall be built in it,
says the Lord of hosts, and a measuring line shall be stretched out
over Jerusalem [with a view to rebuilding its walls].

17Cry yet again, saying, Thus says the Lord of hosts: My cities
shall yet again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord shall yet
comfort Zion and shall yet choose Jerusalem.

I believe that we are called to silence the power of sickness and
disease. I believe we are called to cry out.

Not by might, not by power but by my spirit, says the Lord.

If we align ourselves with Him and allow Him to take us on an intimate
journey, we are trained for war.

In the words of Sendak, ‘Let the wild rumpus begin.’ Lets take back
what the devil has stolen. Let chains be broken, lives be healed. Christ is revealed.

We shall return and supper will be waiting. It will still be hot.

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11 Comments

Filed under Life

11 responses to “Where the Wild Things Are

  1. Jo barrett

    Beautiful clare and sam, what an amazing picture from one of my favoyrite books! I cannot imagine the cry of your mothers heart as you leave sam alone x again I am amazed by the web of support that has spun beneath you- x even today at work as I mentioned you to people at work ( you are never far from my thoughts or prayers) I was amazed by those who knew and were praying x all my love and prayers to you x

  2. Deborah Cohen

    Dear Clare, What a profound co-incidence! It was my turn to read to little Jasper tonight. One of his book choices was “Where The Wild Things Are”. Once I started reading, he decided that “I’m not brave enough for that book tonight. It’s making me feel a bit scared”. We moved on to his next choice. At bedtime prayers, he prayed that God keeps his grandfather safe in South Africa (a constant prayer) and that God has healed Mrs Froggatt’s daughter so that she can come back to school and that Sam can visit their class again. As my grandmother used to say “From his lips to God’s ears”. I couldn’t believe it when I then read your beautiful words in your latest blog. Jasper didn’t feel brave enough to read the book, but how brave are you, Sam and your whole family. Clare, you are inspiring and teaching people well beyond your close circle of friends and family. Our prayers and thoughts are with you. Deb xxx

  3. Nel Dekker

    Dear Clare,
    We are in ourselves never brave enough for that book, but with our hands in Daddy’s hand, we can brave anything……
    Our love, thoughts and prayers are surrounding you.
    Jacques and Nel

  4. Courtney king

    Clare – you write so brilliantly. Psalm 103 message bible says, o my soul, bless god. From head to toe I’ll bless his holy name… He heals your diseases – every one. He redeems you from he’ll – saves your life. He crowns you with love and mercy – a paradise crown. He wraps you in goodness – beauty eternal. He renews your youth- you’re always young in his presence. God makes everything come out right… Brave sam. It is a wild journey she and your family have been on. I’m glad there is a happy ending! Xx

  5. Jane Grover

    Its me again…….Everytime I read your blog lately Clare the words come to me “Never the same”
    Your life Clare, Sam’s life, Reid’s life, Emma’s life, Jack’s life…..Never the same, forever you are changed.
    Our God will work ALL things out for God for the five of you who LOVE HIM and are called according to His purpose.
    As He works things out, in the process, in this case the painful process, you will come out the otherside, as people never the same, bigger on the inside, more compassionate, more people focused (if thats possible), more aware of what it really means to let go, to trust God, entirely, you will not be as who you all were back in Jan 2009, whether you were too comfortable is irrelevant now, because right now you are right out of your comfort zone, right out there on the water with Jesus, the boat is off in the distance, its just you and Him and He has you by the hand and the result will be Never the same…forever changed and many of us are being and will be changed with you as we read your blog. Never the same.

  6. Angela Stevenson

    Hey Clare, After seeing Sarah out the door on her way to the gym this morning, I looked out the window after her and smiled as I watched her skipping in the sunshine to her car. An everyday event most people wouldn’t think twice about!
    Then I sat to read your words and you transported me back 3 years ago, when I too had to put that same girl, my beautiful Sarah, in a radiation box at just 16 years old.
    Seeing her screwed down into place on the table, the sound of that door closing, watching her alone in the room on the monitor as the staff read out the measurements of the beams to her brain and body, and then staring at the “BEAM ON” sign light up after they pushed the button. In my pain, I prayed that we were doing the right thing.
    She weighed 40 kg and could barely walk back to the car each day, nauseous and in pain. So who would have dreamed it back then, but there she was this morning, ready to go out and conquer the world! So fearful was she back then in that room, but now so fearless in the way she lives life (I think she is a wild thing now!)
    I know your road ahead is long and very hard, but my prayers are that you too will one day stand at your front window, smiling, as you look out to see Sam skipping back into the world and her ‘new’ life…for this I quietly pray for you all.
    Lots of love, Angela xxx

  7. Meg Dietrich

    2 of my most favourite books…..Clare Scott-Mitchell must have done something so very right!! My most favourite time of my working day is storytime with my class of 2-3yr olds….childrens books,a yumee delight i share with you,my dear dear Clare!
    I love you to the moon and back xoxoxo

  8. Wendy Gilbert

    Another piece in the quilt my friend. A beautiful, prophetic, colourful piece that will guide that next step for you all.

    Thank goodness that we don’t have to manufacture anything that we need for the journey in our lives. The strength, the hope, the joy, the salvation, all given by his gracious hand.

    Lets dream of a beautiful future for your sassy, vivacious Sam. God knew she would need that determination to fight this battle, it was in her, all along.

    How we love the uniqueness of each one of our children, as God does.

    Standing each day with you in faith & prayer.

    Love Wendy. xoxo

  9. Deb Mac

    Everyone knows it, everyone thinks it – You Froggetts are amazing, strong yet soft, powerful and obedient… Your Father is so proud right now.

    Seeing the completed work in faith.

    xoxo Deb

  10. Sandy Foster

    Hi Clare – Thank you so much for sharing each day with us. I pray, Let God arise and the enemy be scattered. How awesome … we are an army praying in unity – we prophesy to the darkness – God is at work restoring and raising up Sam in His strength and grace – what a future is in store for her and for all your family. No weapon formed against you shall prosper. With all our love and prayers xxx

  11. sheralyn bucknell

    I never did venture into “Where The Wild things Are” – the cover was enough – but “There’s a Hippopotamus on my Roof Eating Cake” was an absolute favourite of Chloe’s – yes I remember it well.
    Gosh Clare – what an unexpected year for you all – a terrible and wonderful year all at once. Where the wild things are is where the love and power of God dwells. Cancer is strong but He is stronger!
    Love you. Sheralynxx

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