"You will feel like a locust shell - all form and no substance - but as the wind can blow through a locust shell, so the wind of my Spirit can blow through your empty shell, can lift it and set it down in a new place, can make it fruitful beyond your dreams.

Surrender comes hard, but I ask nothing less. Do not let fear of loss prevent you. I will reward you a hundredfold. When your substance has been surrendered, your form becomes filled with my Spirit. You will be tasting the new wine of my Kingdom. I want this for you. Do not be afraid. I am incapable of acting without love, and your surrender will bring you into my love."

I read those words a very long time ago. And I now find that they relate to me now more than ever. Emotionally, spiritually, even physically.

Sometimes I wonder why I end up writing about something else altogether. Sometimes the words won't come. These days, I find it hard to write. For these days, I find it hard to think. Oh, I think all right, about all sorts of things. Even now, I find it a little difficult to continue this train of thought. Something had occurred to me earlier and I wanted to get it down before it was gone for good for my memory is not so good these days, if it was ever good at all. It was something my husband had said and I realised that he did understand what I was going through, or he tried to understand, or he understands part of it for he is my partner in all of this, after all. Like he said, parts of me will be gone for good. My uterus will be surgically removed. My uterus. Actually, I found it quite amusing, initially, until I realised that he understood. I am not so young but neither am I so old. There are women my age who still conceive and give birth, raising a brood of children or even one child. I will no longer be like the barren women in the Bible who were childless but who later conceived in their old age. And they conceived, why? Because God allowed them to? Because He said that they would? Because with God, anything is possible. But without a uterus, without a womb, how could there ever be a miracle with me?

I find it hard to surrender to Him. Thy will be done, I pray. Thy will be done. So when I pray to Him, what is it for? He obviously knows what's best for me and I don't. And I still don't understand it, Father. I find it so hard to understand all this, all that has happened since I was young. Oh, woe is me, is that how it is, you silly girl?

No, not wallowing, merely asking, questioning, wondering, why.... But He doesn't answer me. Or, at least, I don't think that He does. Or maybe I'm just not in tuned enough or I don't have enough faith or what, I don't know. There are people who have had worse experiences, who have experienced greater pain and sorrow. Who am I to question Him like this? But I do question. And I have questioned. And I still question. And perhaps I will continue to question even after the surgery.

I am not the brightest spark in the universe, Father. I am not the most faithful nor the most loving. When I was younger and felt stronger in my faith (or so I thought), I asked for those mountains to climb. But later I faltered and failed, didn't I? You ask us to carry our cross. It is quite wonderful to talk about but painfully hard to do. "Oh, sure I'll carry the cross," we tell ourselves. But when we feel how real it is, how dreadfully heavy, and searingly painful, we wonder why and we wonder how we can go on. Take it away, please, we may even ask You in a small voice, wondering if You hear us. And wondering at the same time why You feel so far away.

Perhaps you are silent because more than once, I've said out loud very forcefully, "Life stinks!" So it appears that I am not grateful for this gift of life, my life, nor the other gifts You've brought into my life. But why then, don't I have the gifts that other women seem to have? It is not always about the grass being greener on the other side. It is about being a woman who is healthy sexually, physically and emotionally. I'm not talking about the perfect woman, just an ordinary woman like many other ordinary women who go through life falling in love, making love, and creating a child out of love with one's spouse. It doesn't sound so difficult, does it? It can't be very difficult after reading about all those teenage pregnancies or women having babies out of wedlock. How do they do it? They just do it. But I couldn't do it. Not always, and not often enough. I am a Catholic wife in a Catholic marriage and we don't have children. And some days are still very trying. And despair sets in. And then I feel even lonelier. But I know that he loves me and that I love him. It is hard enough sometimes with just the two of us. Is that why we don't have children or is that why we were not meant to have children? There were other reasons, of course, other hurdles and barriers. Was I -- am I -- a good wife? Would I have been a good mother? Still the questions.

Yes, a door will be closed for good. A chapter will close for good. No need for melodrama, just take it for what it is. And what is it? What is all for, Father? I wish You would tell me.

You know, I have to say this, Father. During Mass a few Sundays ago, the First reading from the Book of Wisdom made an impact on me.

The wicked say:
Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us;
he sets himself against our doings,
reproaches us for transgressions of the law
and charges us with violations of our training.
Let us see whether his words be true;
let us find out what will happen to him.
For if the just one be the son of God, God will defend him
and deliver him from the hand of his foes.
With revilement and torture let us put the just one to the test
that we may have proof of his gentleness
and try his patience.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death;
for according to his own words, God will take care of him.

(Wisdom 2:12, 17-20)

I followed the words in the missal whilst it was being read aloud and as I came to the end, I gasped inwardly. Just a little bit. Thank You for that moment.

I know You are real and true even if I don't feel it. Divine consolation. Is that what I seek? Why are there people who experience it but I don't? Have I received it and just do not recognise it? It appears I do not recognise a lot of things so that's nothing new, I know. Maybe You think that I don't need to be comforted. Maybe You think that I'm strong enough to see this through on my own. Really? I feel lonely and alone, Father. Can I at least say that much? But then You know that already. You know everything and I still don't understand. Life didn't turn out the way I wanted it to. But what did I really want? Good question. There were always dreams and wishes but they were always within or at the back of my mind, waiting to come to life when I closed my eyes. I was a dreamer. Did I then dream my life away?

There is so much more to say. And I may forget most of it before I write again. But I'm sure the words will come. They came to me tonight, didn't they?


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