becoming a self in history, becoming a self in my street

Caroline Miller

At fourteen I was a feisty and rebellious schoolgirl.

At sixteen having spent school ducking out of chapel, I surprised myself by stumbling upon a very strong presence … a faith within me.

As a result, after leaving home I embraced this, and much to the concern of my parents, I sought to enter an order of contemplative nuns!

It was deeply disappointing to be told to go away and develop a career in the world. But I was adventurous and not short of wild friends with a love of the world and its attractions, which I shared. After this I travelled, trained as a nurse, married and had two children.

My husband died suddenly after seven years when our children were toddlers, and following this I began to kick against my faith. At an extreme point of rebellion I threw it out….it was like a sort of acid test…. a deliberate act, like jumping off a cliff edge.

This action brought about a considerable change in my life. There were also other tragic circumstances which followed.

After many years I began a long journey back, in search of the faith and the love that I had rejected, which had once been so vivid. For another 8 years I yearned for its recovery, and for a change of heart.

When my daughter’s first baby was due to be born, I was honoured to be asked to be present in the hospital.

After their perfect baby was born, a call came for me to go into the birth room to hold the little boy.  

As I took the tiny boy into my arms he fixed his eyes on mine and held my gaze in a striking, constant and searching look. This was a look as if to question his very existence … (who are you? who am I? why is this?)…. and this completely met with my own profound questions.

This was the turning point …..and it came through this unexpected wordless exchange. The presence within, the ability to love and pray returned, and my faith followed. My grandson is now going into his teenage years and we are still very close. Frequently he still holds my attention with a look of certainty and love, yet of course he will not be aware of the profound encouragement this has been.

As to my life now, I am constantly aware of the love which lives in me, and I have discovered a way of sharing it with  people of all faiths, and also those of none at all.