I had hidden from others how hard I struggled for faith in those first days. What kept me going, what empowered me, was the candle flame of life that licked and flickered in my belly. The son I carried, so tiny, made me courageous for his sake, for he had nobody on earth to defend his honour or to protect him – only me.
So I struggled, all brave face and hidden terror.
Then came the extraordinary one moment. I stood there, and I was supported by the sudden unexpected grace of my old cousin, and in that one moment total certainty filled me.
All generations would envy me, and with me, those like me. The reviled. The weak. The barely-hopeful. They would learn where God’s favour lay. Right was prevailing. The strong, the rich, the self satisfied, they were doomed. God’s strength was not hidden any longer, it was made plain in my life, in the lives of those like me. It was we who were filled with faith, and the longing for justice, and we were satisfied with mercy, filling our mouths and hearts until there was no room for more, until the grace of God ran down our faces like the juices of an overfull mouth of grapes.
I stood there exultant, and the glory of the moment lit dark moments of terror whenever they threatened to engulf me for years to come. Always I would remember when the flame of the small life shone from within me as the brightest thing in the world.