For weeks, I’ve struggled with writing chapter ten, the last chapter of the book. It’s important because it will help me hone the previous chapters. It’s important because, that’s where I’m heading. It’s also difficult. What do I write? How would I write it? Do I use vignettes and memories and letters to God. Do I write an essay? How do I sum up how God kept His promise: “You were happy once. You will be happy again.”?
In the midst of the madness my life has been, the answer finally came. Here’s a preview:
How did we get to this? How did we stop knowing what Polly knows? What Phronsie recalls without much help? That we’re Yours in a way that Z’s mice can never be his. Though Z breeds mice, they are part and parcel of the same creation as him. If Z decides to breed vicious mice, he doesn’t make the mice ex nihilo. He uses mice that You have already created and attempts to breed them so that they will be more vicious. The mice have no input either before or after Z breeds them. They have no ability to choose whether they will be vicious. And Z has only limited ability over them. Recessive genes would cause some percentage of the mice to be less vicious. But they would quickly be killed by the more vicious rodents or Z would remove them as failed experiments.
But for several years, I held the keys to the food cupboards as had Claire before me. It was a perfect opportunity to withhold food from boys who molested and beat me from five to thirteen. But I remembered being hungry, so hungry, I ate dry dog food and suffered horrible headaches. I cooked extra treats so that we’d all have snacks after school. I spent my own money to buy raisins and nuts and extra butter and flour. I cooked apples and pears from the garden and learned to make all sorts of dishes so that that two pounds of ground beef and some fresh vegetables became a delicious, filling meal. I spent my own money to feed them when we were out. It never occurred to me to starve them. There was still a hungry child inside me who remembered stealing groceries for them. No matter how much I detested them, I couldn’t let them be hungry. I could choose not to be vicious. Z’s mice can’t.
He’s angry with You. You’re not as he thinks You ought to be. You allow suffering. You also don’t respond as he thinks You ought: he was so upset that you didn’t give him even one blinding light experience. Communicating with You is difficult. It requires long, hard work.
“[I]f god [sic] is omnipotent, he is capable of making himself understood if he so chooses.” Z continued, “[T]he notion that we don’t hear due to some defect on our part is absurd. [W]e are his creation. [I]f he wants us to understand his voice, he will be understood.”
Z fails to imagine himself as one of his mice. Of course, he’d tell me, “I take good care of my mice. They’re fine.” But does he understand what the mice experience? He is focused on curing cancer. That’s fitting. Just as it’s fitting to use mice to reach his goal. But do the mice want to be stabbed? Do they want to be subjects of his experiments? Z would point out that curing cancer is more important and mice aren’t human. But he’d also agree, mice suffer. And, if he is honest, he knows when his mice are suffering. He knows by their behaviour; he’s spent years watching them. They communicate to some extent. So if Z is willing to spend the time and energy learning to communicate with rodents, why won’t he learn to communicate with You?