Even in the most difficult circumstances, life has strong moments that make you look up to feel the warmth of the sun. It’s tempting to curl up in a ball, to turn off the lights, to stay indoors and occasionally I do. Sometimes the news of set backs, no matter how small; feel magnified through the lens of the word ‘immunosuppressed.’
My mum called the other day to tell me that while my dad was praying for Sam he asked God to protect her while she was ‘immuno-depressed.’ He had muddled his words by mistake and of course my mother corrected him as all good wives correct their husbands but as I hung up the phone, I thought to myself, ‘Dad, prayed right.’
The fear of things that might happen as a result of Sam’s compromised immune system scream so loudly in my thoughts that I could easily become depressed. Yet by the grace of God, most days I discover that I am able to be tremendously happy. Like Martha Washington said, ‘the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our disposition and not our circumstances.’
For as long as I can remember my school report card read two things, one being that I didn’t work to my potential and the other that I had a cheerful disposition. That was the constant of my school life so imagine how joyful I could be if I really put my mind to it! In my current circumstance I decide to be happy. Not just happy though, I am determined to find a way through this slippery path to a place where I find my feet on solid ground.
Life is a series of deep embankments along narrow paths. It’s the life I signed up for when I gave my life to Jesus. I was informed from the beginning that the road would be narrow.
Matthew 7:13-14 (Amplified Bible)
‘Enter through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and spacious and broad is the way that leads away to destruction, and many are those who are entering through it. But the gate is narrow (contracted by pressure) and the way is straitened and compressed that leads away to life, and few are those who find it.’
Yet strangely, as believers we get a little surprised when things don’t quite work out the way we thought they would, we question God and his word. Some decide to abandon the path and enter through the wide door, seeking comfort and convenience. Others decide that Romans 8:23 is true and ‘are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.’
Today I decide to be one of the others.
Tomorrow, Sam will pack her bags and make her way to meet me at school. We will head into St Vincent’s Private Hospital and Sam, after a day of fasting will again change into hospital gowns to prepare for surgery as she has done so many times before during the last 15 months.
She will climb up onto the narrow stretcher with the starched white sheets and put her little blue paper hat that resembles a shower cap on her head. I already know that when I kiss her forehead I will push down the tears and swallow. I know I will whisper ‘I love you,’ as I squeeze her hand. I know I will wrap my arms across my chest and fold them tight against me as I walk away down a sterile hallway. I know I will pray and let the tears flow.
I know I will press my thumb on the button at the bottom of my phone to check the time, then on my twitter application to skim through people’s tweets, I’ll check my emails, my facebook pages and then off and on my thumb will go. It will be like I’m pulling the lever on a poker machine desperate for something that might grasp my attention and distract me through the 3 hour wait until I see them wheel her out all groggy to her bed on the ward.
I will try to read but my thoughts will drift off the page and hang in the air that smells like chlorohexidine. Then I’ll phone Emma and Jack. They will tell me they are fine and Reid will call to say he’ll be home as soon as he can. He will ask me to remind him what he should do for dinner and they will eat McDonalds instead.
Eventually I’ll kiss her again and when I am satisfied she is peaceful, I’ll brave my way to the car in the dark through the streets of Darlinghurst. I will think of Gara, my friend, who goes to Darlinghurst on purpose to help the addicts that I will probably walk past. I will ponder life and passions and purpose. I will try to make sense of it all.
I will wonder why my perfectly normal life was interrupted by sickness as I drive through city streets late into the night, silently congratulating myself on how clever I am to know a few different routes home now. Something I didn’t know 6 months ago. I will talk to myself about my magnificent future, the one that isn’t what it used to be but the one that God always knew I would live.
At the traffic lights I’ll click my ipod. I will find the track that I love to drive home to by Hillsong United, ‘Fire Fall Down,’ and I will sing the words that resonant deep in my spirit. I will worship God completely because although this road is so incredibly hard I am grateful that I am still on this road. I am grateful that my daughter is alive, I am grateful that someone had enough compassion for us, even though they didn’t know us that they donated their stem cells to preserve her life. I am grateful that God loved me so much that He sent His son to shed His blood for us, that no matter what I did, through Him I have eternal life. Even though the way is narrow, I am one of the few who found the way.
As I pull up the car out the front of our home I will be thankful for my father’s prayers, my teachers reports and for empowering worship. I will not be immuno-depressed but rather my disposition (the predominant or prevailing tendency of one’s spirits; natural mental and emotional outlook or mood; characteristic attitude) will be cheerful.
And just out of interest, assuming that you are? My name Clare means ‘bright, shining and illustrious,’ my middle name Felicity, means ‘happy.’ So my parents already spoke it over me at my birth. Samantha, by the way, is a derivative of Samuel meaning ‘one who listened to God’ and Kate her middle name means ‘pure.’ I am confident that even in my absence she will hear His voice and He will keep Her safe.