The gap in publishing mid-decade was brought about
by her continual spinal problems, which had been masked by the migraine
pain that was her constant companion. The spinal problems finally
required surgery that fused much of her lower spine. A few years after
this surgery Margaret’s arthritis reemerged, particularly in her back.
The arthritis that returned soon began to be debilitating and brought an
increased level of suffering for Margaret. With this she began to
write Grace Grows Best in Winter, published in 1972. She did not
write this book as C.S. Lewis had in the Problem of Pain, with philosophical
arguments, but as he had in A Grief Observed; as a “cry of human anguish
which only faith could assuage.” Margaret’s pain became so severe
that she retired from teaching in 1973 at the age of 58.