Uncategorized Jan 27, 2021

When my child was gravely ill
I would feed birds
from plexiglass shelters
to the kitchen windows;
there I first met
black-capped juncos.
I learned that they flew to us
from distant Oregon;
such tiny wings to carry
such a long, long way. 
How did they do it?
What instinct
brought them hundreds of miles,
when I could not,
by force of will,
pull my daughter
from her invalid bed? 
Implanted in their chromosomes
a firm resolve to fly—
that same resolve
that would eventually
lift my beautiful girl
to soar with body, soul and words…
her trills more thrilling
than the song of migrating birds. 

Liz McFadzean

You may already know this story.  At the age of eight our daughter Meredith was stricken with a mysterious rash, that over a few months transitioned to high fevers and the inability to walk. Eventually, after a hospitalization and a battery of tests, she was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. This was the start of a very bleak and lonely season for both of us.  Bedridden, she was not able to go to school for the rest of the year.  A teacher was provided by the district, but she would only come to our home for one hour a week.  The rest of the time we were on our own.  The hardest part for me as her mother was not knowing when or if this would ever end.  It was a season, not unlike that which many parents today are going through, only compounded by the real fear for her life.

But in spite of this experience, or maybe because of it, Meredith is an overcomer.  In “The Old Man and Sea” Ernest Hemingway wrote, “The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places.”  I often wonder if Meredith would have had the backbone and the peer independence to accomplish all that she has so far in her life…I wonder what blessing we would have missed if she had not had this affliction. I know that many are lamenting the time we are in, much as I lamented my inability to change her situation in my poem, “Juncos”.  

For you who are viewing this time we are currently experiencing as irredeemable, Meredith’s devotional book looks at some of her life experiences past and present, seen through the prism of our relationship with time.  But the author as well as the book she has produced is my source of inspiration.  If Meredith can “soar with body, soul and words” after her early childhood deprivation, I believe that she can instruct me about making the most of my time as well.

Hopefully you have taken the opportunity to preorder her book, “All the Time: Daily Devotions Finding Faith in the Everyday Moments”.   The book launches in March, but you can preorder at Amazon with the link: https://rstyle.me/cz-n/euat6icivex

Love, Liz

“We are in the process of becoming.  Too often we think that we want things to be running smoothly, but more often than not, all of our lives here…are defined by the challenges, and indeed the sadnesses and the loss; and more of who we are is made up of how we met or didn’t meet those losses than anything when we would say it was smooth sailing or everything was great.”                   Documentarian Ken Burns