Are you there, God? It’s me.
I met you at the Wailing Wall. Remember? I went to Jerusalem with my friend Cynthia and we both placed our hands on the wall. Cynthia told me we were supposed to pray, but all I could think of was you already know it all, God. You already know what I’ve been through. So I didn’t feel I needed to pray. I just said, you know it all, God, and left it at that, because, at the time, I didn’t have any answers. That’s one reason Cynthia, and I went on that pilgrimage trip together. We’d both been through so much, and we needed answers.
Well, God, my life changed for the better shortly after I got back home and the better bits did last for a while. But now, God, I’ve gone and got myself in deep trouble again, and I need your help.
You probably already know, Lord, because you’re omnipresent, that I’ve had a second driving accident. Yes, a second one. Exactly a year to the day after the first one. My horse bolted, just like last time. Same horse too. Me in the wagon behind it. Only this time it did not jump a hedge and send me flying. This time, a large lorry driving past the field spooked Flame, and he just took off, bolting. I hung on for dear life, but the carriage hit a rock, and turned over, throwing me up in the air, and I landed on a rock again. Same hip. Flame then did a circuit of the field and came back and ran me over. Someone saw the accident. I was out cold.
The metal hip they put in last time and the metal rod down my leg were severely damaged and they’ve had to do the same operation again. Give me another new hip and metal down my leg. It hurts like hell, God. The nurses come in every day and make me walk, but I swear that leg is now shorter than the other one. I’m terribly upset about it.
I know I should be grateful to all the specialists who’ve been attending me and I am Lord, but I’m in so much pain and don’t know what to do with myself sometimes. It’s like a dull toothache all the time. You probably don’t know what toothache is like, but it’s always worse at night. That’s the loneliest time for me. Cooped up here in this side ward with nothing to do and no visitors. Well, hardly any visitors. The nurses come in all the time and the auxiliary nurse with my meals, but none of them have time to sit and talk to me.
The specialist said I can only have three replacement hips fitted during my lifetime and I’m only twenty-five now and that takes me up to about sixty-five. I don’t know what I’m going to do then.
I know I shouldn't have taken the horse out. I told Miss Haveram that the horse was not fit. It's got a large lump on its side and it gets very nervous. She insisted I do as I’m told and I did.
You must know, Lord, that I need the money too, after Derek left me with two young children to look after. I needed the money, otherwise I would have told Miss Haveram in no uncertain terms that the horse was neither rideable, trainable or fit to pull a vehicle, with that enormous lump on its side. She never listens to anything I say.
I’m also a thief God and I’m sure you know that too. I’m certain you’ve been watching me when I get up early in the morning and sneak to Miss Haveram’s chicken run and steel eggs for our breakfast. I’ve been taking potatoes from the field too, so that we can all have eggs and fried potatoes for breakfast and sometimes we have to have the same for lunch as well. I’ve been exercising Miss Haveram’s favourite horse, Robin, down the lane where the farmer keeps pigs. He has a pile of giant potatoes in his yard for the pigs. I steel them too. I take them home and put them in the oven on a low gas, as they are huge. Then get back to work at Miss Haveram’s stables and when I get home in the evening, the potatoes are ready for our tea. My wages are very low and sometimes I find it hard to manage on what money I get. But I’m sure you know all this, Lord, don’t you?
You know everything. I don’t really have to tell you what a sorry state of affairs my life is at the moment.
You know I had to leave Derek and my two kids before I topped myself. I’d already taken a couple of overdoses and Sarah found me, just in time, and took me to hospital both times. Then Derek came to the caravan where I was living, opened the car door and shoved the two boys out along with a load of carrier bags with their clothes in and drove off and said he never wanted to see any of us again.
I was so glad to have my boys back, but then I needed somewhere to live and so I took the job at Miss Haveram’s stables as it included the on-site accommodation.
You know I’ve worked very hard to keep my boys Lord, but now what am I supposed to do? I cannot work for a long time. The doctors say so and they also tell me I must never get back on a horse again. If I damage this second hip and the metal down my leg, then that will be it. So I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place, as they say.
I’m truly distraught God. I hope you can hear me. I know you can hear me, but I’m writing this letter to you, anyway.
You know all about my trials, and tribulations. You know all about me. You know I tried hard with Derek, but it was not meant to be. We should not have married in the first place. I believed I loved him and he believed he loved me. We were young—too young. Then we thought a second child would bring us closer together, but it just took us further apart. But you know that, Lord. You know it all.
I’m not asking for forgiveness, Lord. I would though ask that this pain in my hip and leg be taken away.
Well, dear God, that’s about it. I hope I’m not taking up too much of your time I know you have many people to look after and most of them are far worse off than me. I just need some help, that’s all, before I go mad.
So please God, can you help me?
Margaret looked at the two pieces of paper on the tray on her lap. She wondered how to sign her name.
Could she put love at the bottom of a letter to God? Is that how people signed their letters to him? She remembers writing to Father Christmas as a young child and putting love Margaret. This letter was different.
She signed it—Margaret.
She folded it and placed it in the envelope one of the auxiliary nurses had given her, along with the two sheets of paper and the pen.
Just as she was about to seal the envelope, there was a gentle tap on the side ward door.
Hello, I’m the hospital Chaplain. Can I come in? I’ve asked someone to send us up a cup of tea and some biscuits. I always find a chat and a cuppa can help solve many problems.