The Wounded Sparrow
By Roger Allen Cook
Cymonne Pyles, a vibrant, active child who loved gymnastics, cheerleading, and singing, began having headaches half way through her eighth year of life. As the pain in her head occurred with more regularity, her doctor thought it might be of the migraine variety or perhaps stress induced. Her parents, Jeff and Debi, wondered how stress could be a problem with a child wh o had invited Jesus into her heart as Lord and Savior at the age of seven and seemingly enjoyed life so completely.
As time passed, the headaches worsened, resulting in a trip to the emergency room. That night the Pyles family began a journey that would lead them to Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan and eventually to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Tests revealed that the headaches were caused by a malignant tumor in her brain called a Glioblastoma Multiforme. It was a malady that children rarely survived.
Her first brain surgery lasted for more than thirteen hours and the doctors said she probably should not have survived that experience. This was followed by numerous other surgeries, aggressive chemo and radiation therapies, and massive doses of steroids. Through it all she had an "I'm all right" signal with her dad. He would hold her hand when she came through a procedure and as soon as she was able, she would give it a squeeze. That always let him know that she was ok.
Although her life became filled with endless medical issues, Cymonne never lost her love of singing. In fact, on her way to surgery, with her head shaved and circles marked on her scalp, she would sing her favorite song for her doctors and nurses. The name of the song was "His Eye Is On The Sparrow" and the words below, by Civilla Durfee Martin, reveal how appropriately they applied to her situation.
Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
I sing because I'm happy,
I sing because I'm free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.
She knew that she was a wounded sparrow that God had His eye on and she trusted Him with her whole being. One time when the misery index from all the treatments was pretty high, she told one of her favorite nurses that she wasn't afraid to die because she had Jesus in her heart. Although ready to die, she didn't want those who had fought s o valiantly on her behalf to think that she had given up on the fight. Later, Debi and Jeff would remember that conversation the nurse had related to them.
In March of 1998, shortly after her 10th birthday, she began to show signs of a recovery that caused some to think that her condition might not be terminal. Sadly, by late April she was once again off to the emergency room with extremely labored breathing. In triage, her breathing returned to normal and her eyes opened with a look of astonishment, as if she was looking out into deep space and she sai d "Mom." She then collapsed and stopped breathing. Medical personnel were able to revive her, but she had to be placed on a ventilator in intensive care. She had to be heavily sedated to keep her from fighting against the intrusive machinery that was helping her breath. This left her in an effectively paralyzed condition.
The doctors told her parents that although she couldn't move, she could still hear them. As they watched her laying there in her bed, helpless, with all that medical apparatus just barely keeping her alive, they knew in their hearts that it was time for them to let her go. That was when her parents tenderly whispered to their little child how proud they were of her and the way she had fought this enemy that had attached her body. They told her that if it was the Lord's time for her to go, it was ok. At that moment a little hand squeezed her father's hand for the last time as she signaled to him, "I'm ok." Within one minute of that squeeze, on April 28, 1998, a little wounded sparrow flew like an eagle, higher than ever before, all the way to Jesus. She now knows from personal experience that He truly did have His eye on her all the time.
If you know Him, He has His eye on you too. Isn't God's grace a wonderful thing?!
Copyright 2006 Roger Cook
Roger is an educator, minister and author of a book of devotional poetry entitled "Sailing by Grace" which is available at Amazon.com. He is happily married and has four children and five grandchildren. You can find other items from Roger in the 2the heart archives, such as "Sailing by Grace", "Authored By Grace", "The Banquet", "All of Her, All of Him", etc. Contact him at email@example.com