Monday, 16 February 2009

Veni Pater Pauperum


When we'd finally got a house of our own after being in temporary accommodation for months, the rooms seemed so big and empty.

There was nothing but floorboards, a few pieces of recycled furniture and donated pots and pans! Boo was crawling but I had to carry her everywhere because of upturned nails and splintered wood. Our garden a shock of dead thorns and rubble. No place to play.

Then when Tilly was just four weeks old, Boo came down with the worst fever. As I undressed her hot little body for a bath I noticed a rash. I'd read about meningitis rashes years before so I called the after hours surgery straight away. They told me to phone A & E.

The doctor on the other line told me to come in immediately. My mind raced...
"I haven't got a car. " I stammered.
"Well get a taxi." She replied, dead pan.

I had only one ten pound note and no cards or bank accounts at the time.
Ten pounds would not have covered the taxi there and back.
It was now pitch black outside and snowing hard. Tani was working nights at a pub and our neighbours, the only people we new in the area at the time were out.
In those days we didn't even have a mobile phone.

I tried calling the pub on the landline but it was a dodgy line at the best of times.
Nothing, no connection.
Just a monotonous, lingering note.

I called the hospital again and tried to explain.
"Haven't you got any family that can bring you in?" said the doctor, clearly irritated.
I didn't. In fact I had no one to call.

"Would it be possible to get a home visit?" I ventured.
No it certainly would not.

Finally she said... "Listen if you don't care enough about you child and your husband just can't be bothered enough to leave work it's not my problem. If something happens it's out of my hands, it's your own fault".

Hands shaking and numb I put the receiver down.
Then without knowing what else to do I called an ambulance.

I carried my fragile post partum body and a baby in each arm along the icy path to the ambulance door while Emmy brought the bags behind me.

Thank God Boo did not have meningitis just a horrible fever from which she quickly recovered.
Still I will never forget how people who often need the most, people with very little support and security are often treated.

I have always noticed such a difference in the way I have been treated depending on other's perception of "my class." Or the amount of money I might (or might not ) have.

An even bigger emotion that I take away from experiences like this is how when things are hard it's like seeing through a fog.
You can't make out where the light source is, you can't even make out your own hand.
Everything seems but a shade of gray right to the end of the road.
Sometimes it's not until the fog lifts just a little that you can see just what has been done and how much it has meant.

We started our family when we were but kids.
So much wonder in hindsight of the hurdles we had to jump.
And if there is not a God we could never have done it. So I believe hard.

And I reach for the light even the fog falls and seeps through every surface.
Rising only as dampness and the residues of dreams.
Because I know light is there.

God is with us "Emmanuelle"(the name of my first born).

There may be much against us, but that is not God. God is for the mourner, the meek, the poor, the dispossessed, the persecuted, the slandered, the lonely, the childlike pure and all seekers of goodness and truth. This is my God.

So when days and nights are hard, and there is no one to call, no shoulder but his and His.

 I remember that the poor in spirit are blessed.

Because it is only when we are at our most alone and empty that there is nothing else to come between our soul and His spirit.

There can be only God then.



  1. bless you,
    lovely prose.

  2. You so often seem to write the words that my brain cannot pick out of the mire which envelopes my brain, thank you x.

  3. suzy this is so beautiful and so true and i know it so well. bless you sweet friend.

  4. Suzy, as I read each line more and more tears have fallen! I wanted to rush to your side and help, I wanted to shake an uncaring, unfeeling doctor, I wanted to get down on my knees and thank an all loving God!
    You are one talented and beautiful woman!

  5. There may be much against us, but that is not God. God is for the mourner, the meek, the poor, the dispossessed, the persecuted, the slandered, the lonley, the childlike pure and all seekers of goodness and truth. This is my God.

    So true. Thank you for your lovely words of hope and survival.

  6. God is with us ESPECIALLY at our most challenging times! Thank you for sharing! I have to remember to treat people with compassion. I can be Jesus to them! God bless you! Patsy from

  7. the poor in spirit are blessed.... the richness of poverty... yes, joining you friend, in humility and gratitude. i love your writing. i always do. :)

  8. sounds like the Lord has put the solitary in a family.

  9. Suzy,
    What a beautiful post. The others said so much already. You're so perceptive, and your writing is lovely.
    Glad your precious girl was alright.
    Love and prayers,


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