It lay there forgotten, and she never even missed it. She had never even known it had a name. For her, it didn’t. But she knew that she felt better – the pain was further away, far enough away now, in fact, that it could easily be got rid of altogether, at least for a while! Over time, with some experimentation, she got better at doing that.
Life was much more fun now. Maybe she didn’t feel joy quite as sharply, but she certainly didn’t feel all the hurt, and she didn’t have everything she wanted to do being constantly interrupted by those voices in her memory screaming “Shouldn’t!” all the time. She could sleep in without guilt. She could stay up late, go to parties, have too much to drink – all without more than a moment of guilt – which she could explain to herself as “Old habits die hard”. An easier life was a better life – right?
And then there were men. One could get so much from them if one simply didn’t care – about anything. Working on her own image to keep her market value intact was probably the thing she put the most effort into. It was an investment with rich rewards – as long as you didn’t care.
It was not-caring which was the key to everything else, and not-caring was a lot easier without that other bit that had caused her so much trouble in the past. Of course, that left an empty space, but a girl learns ways to fill the empty spaces. And she was smart enough to provide for the future, too. Getting ahead was important: making money, having a glamorous lifestyle, being a good-time girl who got noticed. Things got a little wilder as the years passed, but she stayed in control.
She was somewhere between thirty and forty when she realised she had lost control. She wasn’t sure exactly how old she was – she had lied about her age so many times that she no longer remembered the truth. Something was wrong, something was horribly wrong, but she had no idea what to do. All the things she had invited in to fill the empty spaces had not only filled them, but were taking over the rest of her as well. She was a puppet, just a soulless puppet, and something else was pulling the strings. Even though she had given up caring, some corner of her mind was screaming in terror.
She could never afterwards quite recall the sequence of events. It was as if her mind was no longer quite her own. Nothing was clear until the strange day when she found herself face to face with Him. It was as if the whole universe was holding its breath when He looked into her eyes, and straight through them and down into the deep places where she was too frightened to look for herself. And she knew that He was offering her a choice, and there was only one possibleanswer, even if she didn’t really understand what it meant There was no way she could speak, but she said “YES!”with her eyes, even while those other voices were roaring NO in her head. It was enough. He spoke again, and it was like her innermost self was being wrenched wide open .. something was leaving that didn’t want to leave .. and she wanted it to go, even if it had come to feel like part of herself .. she had no idea where she was, or who she was ..
The sun was shining, but the grass still carried the perfume of yesterday’s rain. A light breeze caressed her face. The world was utterly still, and utterly beautiful. She could feel the breath move in her lungs, and the solidity of the earth beneath her feet. All was well .. only one thing was missing, one small, but somehow very important thing.
His fingers lifted her chin and He was looking into her, but now it didn’t hurt at all. “Mary,” he said, making her name sound like a smile. He breathed on her, and she felt His word, and His breath meet somewhere deep inside her, recreating. She was whole, she was well, all things had been restored, and she knew with utter joy that the new life which she had been given belonged to Him forever.