Good Friday, 3rd April 2015
Last year, my husband Dave left for the airport to fly to Namibia very, very early on the Monday before Easter… which meant I had to get up at 5:00 am to shower and get ready to take our youngest son, Jordy, to his lift to college… and then fetch him later in the afternoon. My daughter and I repeated this daily process twice more… until I begged my son’s friend to fetch and bring him home the long route paying him petrol money for his trouble.
I’d woken up on Monday feeling fluey, and got progressively worse every day until I had to go to bed during the day on Wednesday, because I couldn’t stand up anymore.
Dave was still in Namibia, our eldest son in Gauteng, Jordy was away with friends for the long week-end and our daughter Jess, was home alone to look after me… *Smile*
By Thursday I was too ill to get out of bed without help from Jess, and by the evening I couldn’t lift my head or hold a glass to sip water without Jess assisting me. The medication I was taking didn’t seem to make any difference, and the pain was worse than anything I’d ever experienced.
At 18 Jess had her learners licence but wasn’t confident to drive me to the doctor even if they were there the evening before Easter, and I wasn’t going to the clinic which is ridiculously expensive… or the hospital.
Granted, I’m sure it was the fever I was talking through… and I was convinced I would feel better in the morning until the middle of the night… when I was in so much pain I felt I was dying.
My husband was still in Namibia and unable to get a flight home to Durban… until Friday… Good Friday, and only via Cape Town with hours of delays and waiting in between… which meant it took him 13 hours to get home… but he did get home. *Smile* …after 10:00 pm.
By Saturday morning I was able to move and drink water without assistance, and by Sunday I was able to get up and move around… by Easter Monday, I was starting to feel better …as I woke up early in the morning and felt the need to write.
As I waited for my computer to boot after turning it on… it takes more than a few minutes… I didn’t know what I wanted to write, just that I did. *Smile*
I sat quietly at my desk looking out the open French doors, onto our back garden as the sky gently lightened with the dawn, and rays of sunshine peeked through the clouds.
Feeling so grateful to be pain free with the after effects of whatever illness I had receding from my body.
It was only in that moment that I realised it was Easter… and I started to write… a feeling of deep warmth, love and comfort permeating my being as gratitude filled my heart.
I felt alive and so happy to be so… and I wrote the first few paragraphs in just a few minutes.
I felt so vibrant I had to move so I went outside, squigging my toes in the dewy grass as I walked bare foot across the lawn… the sun shining brightly as the clouds dissipated… and the bunnies poking their noses out the cage in anticipation of breakfast, or even a treat. *Smile* I searched the veggie garden and found lots of fresh spinach which they all love, and some Basil as a treat.
After the bunnies were fed, I ventured back to my computer, inspired to continue writing, even though I thought I was done… writing another few paragraphs in only a few minutes.
My husband came downstairs, happy to see me smiling and feeling so much better, after my previous weeks ordeal… and I shared with him that I hadn’t known it was Easter and that I’d felt inspired to write in celebration of this special time.
We chatted and laughed and meandered through the morning… and just before noon, I felt inspired to write some more and this time complete what I was busy with… giving it a title… Gethsemane’s Hope!
The entire experience was so profound, and so spiritually touching, I was only able to share the words with my family during the next few days… and a few others during the following weeks.
I know that the illness and pain I suffered through for those few days, allowed me a deeper inspiration than I’ve ever before experienced, simply because my heart was softened and I was open to it.
It’s only now that I can admit how much despair and anguish I felt during the dark hours of being so ill and feeling so much pain… and I wonder at the depth to which the Saviour suffered on my behalf, even though I know I can’t comprehend His pain.
It’s not often I feel such deep gratitude for hardship and challenge, and especially for illness and pain, however this is an experience I will never regret for the blessings it brought and the gift I was given… like a rainbow and sunshine after the rain, and the abundance of blessings the rain actually brings.
A year later, as the memory of the pain I felt has receded, I can honestly say I am grateful for the entire experience, and humbled by what I wrote and the feelings of love and comfort that filled my soul, and how profoundly it touched my heart.
Happy Easter, may you feel the warmth, comfort and love I experienced.
Love and Blessings
Monday, 21st April 2014
As the Saviour, kneeled before the Father,
In agony He bowed,
Beneath the weight of worldly sin.
Accepting the price to pay,
Our sins redeemed… yours and mine.
Redeemer, such an extraordinary gift…
Our Saviour, who should be known as the One,
A knight in shining armour,
Lord of hosts, King of kings.
Rescuer of our souls,
If only we accept the invitation… of His open, outstretched arms.
For to be rescued from our own choices, mistakes and sins…
We must first understand the price to pay,
A choice to make,
Knowing that righteousness is discernible,
Through the light of Christ, we each hold,
Given us the day we are born,
A gift of measure,
Which helps us see and feel,
What is right and what is wrong.
As the Saviour with His perfect life,
Felt my sorrow, and my despair…
And even knew those times I gave up hope,
My human faith… failing,
Bowing to the weight of daily challenge,
His blood spilt through His pores,
By the intensity of the pain,
Incomprehensible… to my human knowing.
The hope that through this sacrifice,
My heart may soften…
And learn the lesson,
That happiness for my soul,
Can only be found in accepting this gift of redemption,
Change… with His help, to a righteous path.
That as I trudge this stony road, with rocks that often stub my toes.
I should remember that the pain I sometimes feel,
Could never compare… to His agony in Gethsemane.
And all He asks of me in return… is a contrite spirit,
And a humble thankful heart,
That I may learn to choose good, in gratitude,
Experience joy, and celebrate the blessings and miracles of life,
No matter… my circumstance.
How do we begin to understand,
That this is an easy choice to make,
When all the attractiveness in the world,
Calls me to choose the opposite,
The glitter of gold… and silver that tarnish,
Too late for me to see,
That glory is not hidden in worldly dominion,
But found in His atoning sacrifice,
And forgiving understanding arms.
If I would just take His hand,
Pierced by nails, He would lead me,
Showing me the way to choose,
That if I would serve in faith through Him,
My hands may show the calluses of work,
And even deep wounds, scarred by life,
They’ll also hold the joy that only comes from giving,
From my heart to yours,
Time, love, service and sacrifice.
A gift that gloves His hands… in mine.
Today, I hope…
That as I walk this earthly path,
I’ll remember His blood that soaked Gethsemane soil,
On a day a long time ago.
That He overcame all, and conquered death,
To rise in triumph,
That I may also succeed.
Today, I hope…
That as I remember the past
I’ll trust and have faith in Jesus Christ,
Celebrating His resurrection,
That I may have hope, love and believe in Him.
Today, I hope…
As I celebrate in this moment,
I’ll marvel in His miracles.
I’ll remember the lessons of His example,
The blessings of His life and believe that He lives…
Choosing rather than tragedy and despair,
A world torn by strife, nature’s storm, greed and hate,
I’ll see the kindness in a stranger’s eye,
The beauty in an Autumn butterfly…
I’ll notice in a shady corner… the tiny flower bloom,
Each a message that today I celebrate…
That I may be…
The kindness that a stranger see’s,
The answer to a heartfelt prayer,
The service for one in need,
The compassion that my neighbour feels,
The empathy for a remembered friend,
The comfort of a loving hug.
That His sacrifice is felt… honoured and remembered,
Through each of my words and all of my deeds.
That I may be… trust… hope… and love,
A standard for all to believe.
© Mandy Swinburne
“Risen Hope” by Joseph Brickey
“The light reinforces that idea of overcoming death and darkness, of rising above despair, of finding hope,” Joseph Brickey said. “Not only is Christ risen, but also Mary’s hope rises when she hears her name from His lips. She represents each of us… this very personal interaction typifies Christ’s role in our lives. He knows us. He watches over us when we weep. His voice overcomes darkness and brings resplendent hope.”
“Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
~ Romans 8:39