A shot across the bow

Cold is the water
It freezes your already cold mind
Already cold, cold mind
And death is at your doorstep
And it will steal your innocence
But it will not steal your substance 

But you are not alone in this
And you are not alone in this
As brothers we will stand and we’ll hold your hand
Hold your hand

And you are the mother
The mother of your baby child
The one to whom you gave life
And you have your choices
And these are what make man great
His ladder to the stars

But you are not alone in this
And you are not alone in this
As brothers we will stand and we’ll hold your hand
Hold your hand

And I will tell the night
Whisper, “Lose your sight”
But I can’t move the mountains for you

Timshel by Mumford and Sons

This is a song about the approach of death: there aren’t too many of those around, but as I mentioned in Hold on Hope, there are a few on the Mumfords’ Sigh No More album.  U2 have done a couple of good ones too… but I’ll return to that last remaining taboo subject another day 😉

You know by now its not taboo for me… I want to face it.  Perhaps I have to face it – although not everyone in this position deals with it in my aggressively head-on way! This particular song comes very close to the bone indeed – a mother losing her child, mature choices having to be made.  But I deliberately listen to these lyrics to find identification and, yes, comfort – to know that I am not alone in what I face, in what we face as a family. So many others suffer the same uncertainty and pain – often so much more acutely than we do, because as the song says, we are blessed and supported by many brothers and sisters holding our hands and the knowledge of Jesus’ love.

It does help me to remember the big picture, the suffering world all around us… the intensity of pain and loss which is part of all our lives on this planet.  Of course, everyone with any compassion does what they can… no-one can do more than that.  No-one has a magic wand. No-one can suddenly solve the problems of Haiti: this fallen world doesn’t work like that.  Equally, no-one can take our burden, walk our journey or move the mountain from in front of us… although Jesus was clear that with even a mustard seed of faith, mountains can be moved, so I have been practicing speaking to it!  Instead there is a journey to walk, where redemption can be found through pain – Jesus came to show us how to do that – and He stays close at our side every step of the way.  That’s the theory, the established fact!  Now to test it out…

Early this morning Sam came and woke me with a look of terror on his face. He had been unable to sleep for most of the night because he had been shaking all over, and he couldn’t stop.  How frightening not to be in control of your own body… and he immediately thought this meant the tumour was progressing and causing symptoms: the beginning of the end.

It wasn’t and it isn’t.  He had been shivering with the intense cold, as far as I can work out. But, still more asleep than awake, I took him into my arms as if he was small again and looked into those eyes full of fear and sorrow.  My heart went numb and autopilot took over: I think that is a common mechanism when faced with something you can do nothing at all about – it certainly is for me, just like the Mumfords’ ‘cold, cold mind’.  So I just did what I could as his mum – held him and comforted him. He gradually warmed up, calmed down and eventually went to sleep. He is fine now – apart from the emotional backlash, of course.

A shot across the bows – a warning!  Sometimes we could almost forget about this bl**dy tumour because he is so well.  This morning was nothing, a false alarm, but one day it may/will not be. May or will? Is it faith to say may? No – but it is hope speaking… ‘Will’ is the cold, clinical prognosis, but it is too bald, too hard, too final to let it have it all its own way. We can’t live like that… it doesn’t help.

Yet I was faced today with another scenario for which I know I am not equipped… disability.  That is what terrifies Sam, reduces him to misery.  Fear, he quoted to me the other day, is ‘false expectations appearing real’.  But what if those expectations are not false but actually quite likely? As my emotional numbness passed, the painful reality hit home. Ah – my heart is not strong enough for this. Death cannot steal my substance, but to see him broken in that way… Come on Lord, let your love come and drive out this enemy! We do not have to fear the unknown future because You will always provide the grace we need for the path You call us to walk…

It is not the time.  We don’t know what will happen in the coming months: our faith in the One who does is tested again… He remains faithful.  We continue to be more than grateful for the time we have, and so thankful for the journey so far and the friends who walk with us on the way.

‘You are my hiding place, you preserve me from trouble, you surround me with songs of deliverance’ Psalm 32v7 – and You will not take us beyond what we can bear.


About Sally Ann

True-story teller - words and pictures
This entry was posted in Mothering, Quotable quotes, Sam's journey, Suffering. Bookmark the permalink.

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