Bonny and The Good Shepherd


Bonny sighed heavily as she found a place to rest

She would manage no more today

Beneath the domed glass ceiling of the crowded shopping mall

She sat near the towering Christmas tree

An aggragate of light and sound raged

As her pain intensified

She had bought two gifts that was all

‘How has it come to this?’

The changes were subtle at first

Aches, pains, fatigue

Then clumsiness, knocking things over, dropping things

She still sighed for her nanna’s precious vase, now broken

Then a stumble or two

Ending in falls she’d told no one about

Gym membership was supposed to help regain strength and vigour

But it only made things worse

Two years later doctors gave her the vague diagnosis

It was still so hard to accept

It had meant many changes

Some harder to accept than others

She had wept when they organised the wheelchair

But oh how she wished she had it here and now

As Christmas shoppers surged on through the mall

A group of carol singers made their way to a small dais

At the heart of the chaos

They reminded her of the hardest change of all

She could no longer dance nor sing as she had once

It had been a shock to find

The weakness was not confined to her limbs

Now and then she had trouble swallowing

Her throat would tighten feeling as if she were being strangled

Making it difficult to breathe in unless she concentrated

Singing made all of those symptoms much worse
Lost the sweet round tones

Gone the range and control

Often at church, Bonny had been told she had a lovely voice

Singing to God was what she loved best

It was how she praised Him

Even at home, when cooking she’d sing the ‘wrong’ words to popular songs

So she could Praise God

Her boys, as sulky teens would scold her

She smiled at the memory

The Carol singers were ready now

Dressed in red and white choir robes they looked timeless

One small child concentrated hard and began to sing

Her voice rose, echoing in pure notes

Bonny was entranced

It was like hearing herself years before

The shopping mall melted away

She was Child again

Standing before her mother

“The Cathedral”

Her mother had questioned,

“On Christmas Eve”

The small girl nodded, unaware of the significance

“Teacher said to be there an hour before”

She added

Her mother scoffed

“Well, we’ll see about that,”

Bonny had learned not to argue

They arrived at the cathedral with minutes to spare before the service

Bonny was led away to the vestry to be robed

A forest of people rose as the organ music swelled

Rich resonant chords filled this enormous church

The Processional began

Bonny gazed at the towering Christmas tree

Spun glass orbs and lights sparkled and shone

It would hold her gaze 

Until they wanted her to sing

She felt so small

Would anyone hear her?

Hundreds of people settled

The organ stopped

Candles quavered

Bonny couldn’t look at faces

She chose instead to look up

To a window high above

Lit from without

It held an image of the Good Shepherd

His gentleness reached down to her

And she sang

She sang to Him

Her voice was not her own at that moment

It climbed to the heights

Rebounding off carved sandstone cherubs

Vaulted oak and polished marble

It swelled, ascended

When it came back to her own ears
It surprised her with sweet clarity

As she finished

The service swept on with reverent calm

She received no applause,

No accolades

She expected none

But the Good Shepherd smiled down at her

Bonny knew she had done a good thing for God

Months later in the following autumn

This same tiny seven year old contracted Polio

She lay critically ill

Unable to move

Drifting between worlds

In severe pain

Forty seven years ago

Bonny had been seriously ill

But she fought back

Eventually recovering so the damage didn’t show

But it was there

A constant companion

Her mother made sure it was never spoken of again

Like many survivors Bonny had gone on to live an apparently ‘normal’ life

Married a wonderful man, had children, a career and served at church

She had been blessed in so many ways

But now, with Time and Age
Damage caused by Polio virus

Declared itself again


Bringing with it Post Polio Fatigue

With God’s help she would deal with it all
She would find another way to do the Christmas shopping

The choir finished

Time to move on
With great difficulty, Bonny rose from the bench

She painfully rejoined the crowd

Slowly she made her way back to the car

Silently praying

She knew the Good Shepherd was with her

This affliction had not come from Him

But she asked Him to use it
‘We are all broken bodies in a broken world

So what if I can’t sing

So what if I can’t praise you in the same old ways…

Teach me new ways Lord

Grow in me the Fruit your Spirit brings

For I’m not finished yet’

Dedicated shoppers swept on

No applause

No accolades

None expected

But the Good Shepherd smiled down at her

She knew she was doing her best

For Him

First Published on Faithwriters 2005

Words and Photographs © Denise Stanford 2010

~ by Denise Within the Vine on 09/12/2010.

One Response to “Bonny and The Good Shepherd”

  1. Thanks friend for standing with me. The mountain is moved!

    Always a joy to splash around with you friend.

    Also wanted to invite you to a to a water buffalo party for India. No formal wear required, just stop by and visit

    Be blessed bunches,

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