I started writing letters to God over thirty years ago. At the time, I desperately needed to talk to someone and there wasn’t anyone in close proximity that I could tell this stuff to. I could have gone to a shrink I suppose, but I’m not sure I thought this was all that shrink-worthy at the time. In retrospect, it probably was. It was just private, intimate, inside your head kind of material that you can’t really share with anyone human, no matter how much you love them and they love you. So who do you turn to? I remembered from those years at Christ Lutheran that Pastor M said you could always talk to God and he would listen – even to the worst of the worst. Well that was me. I was a long-time renegade from organized religion by this point, and the mere thought of getting down on my knees and praying out-loud, or even silently, was painful. So I did what came naturally to me. I wrote.
Little back story. My first letters weren’t actually letters at all. And they weren’t written in a Plain Jane Hilroy notebook either. The first compilation of “prayers, petitions and pleas to God” were contained in a genuine bona fide journal. I can’t remember who gave it to me but I’m guessing it was my best friend B because we gave each other gifts like that. It is one of those cloth covered dealios with sweet little flowers in pink and periwinkle and many many many daunting blank pages to fill. The word “LIBERTY” is engraved in gold leaf front and back, along with the words “Hand Made in England”, also engraved in gold leaf.
All this gold leaf and English pedigree seemed to not only endow this chronicle of my early interior life with virtues I surely didn’t possess but with magical powers as well. And I have to say I still love the notion that by the mere act of writing in this supernatural diary I would be set free, just as all that gold leaf LIBERTY promised. If there was a theme, some common thread woven throughout this first flowery treatise, it was the need for freedom and the desire to hit the road Jack. And of course, I needed God’s help to achieve this. Really.
It is also filled with all kinds of “New Age” postulations, which looking back, make the older me both smile affectionately and cringe with horror. A bit like looking at prehistoric photos of myself in bell bottoms. What was I thinking? Here’s the thing. I’m not sure I was. Thinking that is, at least not clearly. But somewhere between the inside front cover inscription of “My Book of Gratitude, Love & Appreciation” and the last sentence “Thank you Father” some sense of clarity was achieved. Not a lot. But enough to begin this journey, to first get me the hell out of Dodge and then to begin having these daily conversations with God.
Dear God. It’s me.