It is swim lesson day, and she uncoils, all those long inches of her that are coiled always like a spring. She spreads her toes as if to the farthest shore of the farthest ocean and off she goes, tiring out the college girl who swims under her, shaking her head as she watches those little legs kick. She tells me today, with her horsey smile and curls wild around the goggle leashes, how Amy swims like no child she's ever seen. Faster, stronger, longer, deeper, without even pausing for air. And I tell her, today for the first time, that in 2009 they told us Amy would never walk again, perhaps never sit again. And the tears spring to her eyes, and mine afresh, a miracle shared in a moment. All I had to say was that one sentence. And a stranger goes away marveling at the vast and merciful hand of an almighty God.
I shall know why, when time is over,
And I have ceased to wonder why;
Christ will explain each separate anguish
And I, for wonder at his woe,
I shall forget the drop of anguish,
That scalds me now, that scalds me now.
~ from Emily Dickinson's Time & Eternity, 1926 ~
Oh, if you could have seen her, those worst days in 2009, I think, as I herd my brood to the showers. If you could have seen her. I hold her hand as she falls asleep for nap, watch her brother's eyelids flutter closed and change to that indescribable violet as they fall deeper in sleep. You, Amy, my Amy, you hold my hand softly as a violin bow, hold the thumb and the forefinger just exact, so they squeeze your fingers in the passing through, without pressing them. It is our dance of sleep, you and I, ever since 2009. Hand in hand, a hand dance, and you the composer of every song. Far sweeter today, a day I watched you spread your wings and really fly.
Over these long years, the hours of therapy and the lists of words to repeat and the sensory diet and the tests and the long consultations with bespectacled specialists in their dark and dusty library-like offices. We never knew exactly how much to hope for. But hope is a thing with feathers...it doesn't live in file folders, or flutter from papers long with test results, or spring from days with therapists. It grows on you and springs into flight by surprise into long, beautiful moments, like a waterfall's first arpeggio over the peak in spring, the first crystals of flight cascading into the musical crescendo suspended, the outpouring of the earth's soul warmed for the next season and the final downfall and collapse of the tympani into the cathedral of rock below. It is you, Odette, the princess swan, spreading wings in water, and dancing to a tune only a special few of us can hear.
|Amy is the pink blur on the bottom left - distinct from all the other's in the speed of her motion|
You are faithful
Shelter for the fragile soul
You lift us up, You hold us all together
You are faithful, God
You are there in every season of my soul
You are there, You're the anchor that will hold
You are there, in the valley of the shadows
~Faithful, Chris Tomlin~