I seem to continue to lose things that I once prized. I seem no longer capable of thinking up witty double entendres, sophisticated philosophical syllogisms or profound and complex theological reflections. Not that I had ever been particularly good at doing these, but I used to be able to at least play the game. It feels as if the intellectual capacity I once had is slipping away, and with it, any real hopes of completing my PhD studies.
A part of me feels like I am losing my identity. Was I not the stellar student whom everyone thought had a promising future in academia? Did I not once hope to take on theological studies with nary a doubt that I would be up to it? Yet here I am now with an intellect that seems to have been suspended. My writing has lost any semblance of style that might be impressive in an academic or intellectually elite setting. My ability to explain God or faith to anyone has also plummeted because my intellect goes on vacation the minute I attempt to explain. This is a process of dying for me because I once took great pride in my ability to speak intelligently and persuasively about God.
How can I not feel some degree of alarm at what is happening to me? My intellect is a part of me that has always been central to my identity. Now God is stripping me yet again of what I used to cling to: my own perceived intelligence in the eyes of the world.
I give praise to God even in this painful process of purification. I can feel His tenderness even as He strips away my false sense of self, leaving me feeling naked, bleeding, and vulnerable. Who will I be if you take away my intelligence, Lord?
“You will be my beloved as you have always been.”
The old Ann is dying fast. I cannot see where this is heading. I can only trust in God.
It will suffice.