Autumn has arrived in Orkney. Seasoned farmers lament the excessive rainfall, and sad rows of sodden barley lie heaped in fields, abandoned. In the absence of trees, I look to the leaves of the Rosa Rugosa for signs of the season. Sensing the dwindling light and the impending arrival of the gales, the roses protect themselves by preparing for harsh winter conditions. Where the leaf and stem meet, the flow of nutrients slows, then stops completely. The leaves yellow and wither.
I think I know how they feel. Late this spring I noticed my endurance was ebbing. A few months before I had enjoyed the 1 1/2 mile walk back from the beach (uphill). Now walking from one end of the house to the other left me breathless. Negotiating stairs brought chest pain. My skin was pale and dry. I felt the life draining out of me. It now July, and time to see the doctor. Results of heart and lung tests were normal. Then came the call from the doctor. My red blood cell count was 58...low normal is 120. The anemia was starving my body of oxygen. I hate to admit...even to myself, I was slowly dying.
Mid-August found me at the Balfour Hospital. After two days of inconclusive testing the decision was made to transfuse. I was the reluctant, but grateful recipient of two units of packed red blood cells. It was not easy to embrace the reality of blood from two different people slowly dripping into my vein. Within five minutes I developed a bright red rash on my neck...a mild reaction to the blood. I have read that a blood transfusion is the equivalent of a liquid organ transplant. Thankfully the rash disappeared after six weeks.
With the infusion of blood, my face slowly lost it's pasty tinge and a bit of color returned. When I left the hospital on the evening of August 19th, I walked to the parking lot carrying my own bag...and was not breathless! Leviticus 17:11 says, "The life is in the blood." I thank God for the gift of life and for the blood given by donors I will never meet.
Four days after my release I was strong enough (by God's grace) to make the journey to Kate, Richard and Adelyn's home in Kiltarlity. Paxton Nathaniel Dahl arrived a week after I did, early on the morning of August 31.
I was greatly challenged as I lay in that hospital bed last August. I was the youngest of five women on the ward (The oldest was ninety-six). Perhaps for the first time I realized that spring and summer have passed for me. Autumn has arrived. I have a newfound desire to redeem the time...to abide in the Lord, to make each moment count for eternity. I am grateful for every breath, and pray for the grace to learn contentment...even in the most difficult circumstances.
Sojourner. Servant. Recipient of undeserved Grace. Worshiper.