Letter 08: Star-lit Tea, Mr. God and Me.

Dear You

I watched a movie today. I don’t really watch them so much anymore.  Lame as it sounds, not being in sync with the rest of the world is one of the ways I maintain my independence.  So when people are going on and on about this latest release or the other, I can just shrug and look around for what’s not getting any attention.  It makes me feel like I’m in on special secrets the majority haven’t a clue about. 

Back to the movie though… it was a happy, simple, linear story.  As movies go, there were none of the conventional plot twists.  In fact it was less about the how of the story and more about the what.  Reviewers have described it as a showcase for ideals, a feel-good movie about honesty and sincerity, simplicity and innocence, about principles and noble thinking, about family and friends, about being there for each other and about celebrating existing relationships and building new ones.  The cheesy stuff, y’knw?

I think the producer was trying to recreate the way things were just a few years ago and perhaps it was the stark contrast of what was and what is now that got to me.  The sense of utter loss in seeing all the values we have abandoned played out in this ‘life-should-be-like-this’ story.  I don’t cry easily and I’ve never needed a tissue during a movie, but this one made up for all my years of stoicism. 

It reminded me that the stories we tell in fiction are the dreams and ideals we hold in our hearts.  We create and watch these stories with such enthusiasm because a part of us wishes real life would be like that – where people always end up doing what’s right, where villains realise their wrongs and change or get what they deserve, where there is a recompense for every pain and hurt and where justice is served; where no matter how far you go down the wrong road, you always have the sense to turn back.

It got me thinking.  What really prevents us from actually living these kinds of lives? Why can we envision the ideals and goodness, but not practice them?  If we can dream up what the best kind of human being would be and call him or her a hero, what stops each and every one of us from becoming those heroes in real life?

—-

My dear son! Though the span of my life is not as that of some other people who have passed away before me yet I took great care to study their lives…sifting the good from bad I am concentrating within these pages, the knowledge that I gathered. Through this advice I have tried to bring home to you the value of honest living and high thinking and the dangers of a sinful life…

Honesty and high-thinking.  In the journey through this Will, there’s got to be a lot of that for me.  Honesty about myself: what I have failed to do, what I haven’t done yet and what I need to do still – these are not things I’m enjoying having to analyze.  And sharing them is another issue, yet having promised to do so the same honesty demands I have to stick to my word.  But difficult as all that is, high-thinking sometimes seems even harder to accomplish.  Setting your sights on a more noble way of life means losing a lot of things and the first of these are usually your friends…

We relate to the good guy in a movie or book because he appeals to the innate tendency we all have to gravitate towards perfection and right.  But we don’t go beyond just feeling because a part of us thinks: “It’s fiction. No one like that really exists.  I don’t have to feel guilty about not being like him.” The 2-dimensionality of silver screen and paper gives us a chance to excuse ourselves. 

But what would happen if we had to actually live around someone who constantly upheld ‘good guy’ principles when we didn’t?  Someone who had the depth of character we lacked?  It would be like looking into a Mirror of Truth where all our flaws and shortcomings are clearly reflected.  Suddenly, there would be someone tangible in the same environment we are, with the same challenges we face but still managing to live with nobility, not giving the excuses we are, making hard choices and rubbing our noses in the fact that we’re too selfish /cowardly to do the same.

That’s why if you decide to try becoming high-minded in your thoughts and actions, chances are good that people will translate that into being high-handed as well.  If you choose not to compromise on your principles, you might be tagged as inflexible, judgmental, self-righteous – anything negative that will allow others to silence the inner voice of their conscience.

Keeping that in mind makes it so hard to be different, to be better.  A sinful life just doesn’t seem dangerous enough to warrant being ostracized. If someone wants to live immorally then it’s their choice, isn’t it? They’ll waste their own life and that will be that.  We conveniently forget that society is a community.  One person’s actions affect not just their immediate connections, but everyone.  When we accept the unfair or immoral actions of an individual or ignore their effects on another, we reduce the general caliber of the entire society.

Yet, in a world where the soul is denied or dismissed, how can we expect concern for its health to exist?  All we want is an easy, happy, entertaining life surrounded by friends and family and some level of success, so it can become tempting to just go with the flow of things in order to ensure you have people around you – regardless of the quality of their company.  After all, the greatest fear a human being harbours is that of being alone in this world.

—–

I did something a few nights ago that I haven’t in a long time.  I took my cup of tea, went outside and looked up. The last time I had looked up at the night sky, I had marvelled at its beauty (yellow stars!) with you.  After everything, it had been too painful to even do that, so I was surprised at how easily the hurt settled in, made itself comfortable and then allowed me to continue my musing.

I stared and stared and then stared some more, because I couldn’t stop staring.  When did I forget that particular shade of deep black-blue that only a moonless night can have?  And the stars…did someone polish them in the months I have been hiding away in the shadows of my heart? Because these stars twinkled and sparkled like none I can remember seeing.  It was as if the air had become thinner or my eyesight a little clearer or perhaps, maybe… the heavens had shifted just that bit closer?

Have you ever looked into the eyes of another person and seen something so deep, so strong, so fearsomely overwhelming that the world seemed to take a deep breath and stand still?  And no matter how hard you tried, you couldn’t tear your eyes from theirs?  That’s how I felt.  My palms were stinging from the prickly heat of the ceramic mug, my neck had a crick from looking back so far, my knees felt weak from the weight of cosmos bearing down on me and my eyes were burning from the uncountable pinpoints of light searing them, but…but, it was impossible to look away. 

So there I stood on a slab of cracked concrete, wondering at the mind-boggling extent spread out all around me, at how endless the space was in all directions!  Each of those pretty sparkles was a solid mass, gigantic beyond imagination.  Some were entire galaxies like our own (galaxies!) and I could see them merely as hazy blots.  What about the distances between them?  Chock-full of more cosmic debris and yet so far way that it looked like just a few inches of emptiness instead.  And even that emptiness didn’t last…

It was a bit like you feel when you enter a dark room and are blinded for a few moments. Then gradually, your eyes become accustomed to the lack of light and you begin to make out objects.  The more I stared at that inky sea, the more stars appeared in places they hadn’t been a second before.  Faintly shining dots overlapped each other –  layer upon layer – creating a depth that spiralled outwards into eternity.  There was no light at the end of this tunnel, the light was woven into the very fabric of its walls. 

Slowly the sky began to take on a consistency like clotted cream – thick and heavy – into which someone might have stirred crystals of sugar that sparkled, reflecting Divine Light with every motion of the Cosmic Hand.  Then, as I stood there covered by that rich thickness, it all came alive…

One by one, each twinkling synced with those around it until finally the entire sky seemed to be gently throbbing.  And in the next moment, I felt my entire being expand and contract in unison with it, as if in having managed to find the pulse of the universe, I had torn through the fabric of space-time and become trapped in its veins…until I realised it was because everything had synced itself to the most familiar of all music to my self – the rhythm of my own heartbeat.

I’ve always believed that there are other life-forms somewhere out there.  But now I know there IS life out there.  It’s the same Life that is in me and around me, it’s the same Life that is in everything that exists. It doesn’t matter if we ever find a new species on another planet – it will still originate from the same Life Source as us.  (Why are we hunting so desperately for answers that we already have?)

In that moment, I knew that God was staring me in the face, giving me His Full Attention.  No one had ever gone to so much effort to show such Love in just one glance, so I opened up to Him.  I told Him all the things that I was afraid of for you and for me, the things I regretted from Yesterday, the things I was unsure about Today and the things I hoped so much for Tomorrow.  I must have whined a lot more than I thanked, begged a lot more than I shared, wanted a lot more than I could promise in return.  But it was a nice chat, I’m pretty sure about that even though I don’t remember much of it.

I don’t remember how long I stood there or when I sat down or what I sat on. I don’t remember when I finished my tea or how I managed to come back inside, when at the slightest encouragement from Him, I think I would have simply floated up into that Sparkling Tunnel to Eternity and never missed a thing I left behind.

However, I do remember wondering why I hadn’t done this in so long.  Did I get so caught up in you, myself and everything that’s happened that I forgot Him? I always thought that in this friendship we had, God was an Overseer, looking out for both of us.  But I’m beginning to think that might not have been the case.  None of my relationships are about me and another person.  All of them are about me and Him, the other person is only there to make me appreciate His Perfection.  In reality, I only have one relationship – the one I was born into and the one I will die in.  I have only one Soul mate and one Love, and He found me before I even knew to look for Him.

I will always have Someone to talk to, Someone who understands me, Someone who accepts me just as I am.  I can be as high-minded as I want with Him, because there’s no limit to the summit or the depth or the vastness of our relationship.  I know I loved talking to you and sometimes I miss our conversations so much I play out old ones in my head, but despite all that, these talks with Mr. God are different. 

After all, who else can I chat with who can ask me, “How much Starlight would you like with that tea?”

—-

…I felt nervous that I may leave you untrained and uneducated in the subjects which themselves are subject to so much confusion and so many contradictions. Subjects whose confusions have been made worse by selfish desires, warped minds, wicked ways of life and sinful modes of thinking. Therefore, I have noted down, in these lines, the basic principles of nobility, piety, truth and justice. You may feel they are over-bearing and harsh, but my desire is to equip you with this knowledge instead of leaving you unarmed to face the world where there is every danger of loss and damnation.

Looking back, even in just 8 letters, I know I have said things that are over-bearing and harsh already. And what is to come in the letters that follow will probably be even more blunt.  But lessons as valuable as nobility, piety, honesty and justice never come on a silver platter.  You have to hear hard words and accept harder truths, and then hardest of all, you have to be willing to actually change, to make amends, to sacrifice, to fight against friend and foe alike to gain these qualities and nurture them for your self.

Just remember that if you choose to stand on the battlefield of Right and defend the Truth with your life, you may be lonely, but you will never be alone. You may feel misunderstood, but there will always be Someone who understands you perfectly. You may have no companions, but your fight will not be solitary.

I believe you are as capable – if not more – than other people to do this. Therefore, the final words I leave you with for this letter are filled with some of that old feeling I was so sure I had eradicated when I wrote my last letter. (Perhaps I am an emotional wuss after all?)  They are the words of encouragement that this father left, not just for his son, but for anyone who wants to inherit from his Will:

I am sure you will receive Divine Guidance and Help. I am sure He will help you to achieve your aim in life.

Just make sure you set your aim right so He can.  Please.

Always,
Me

*All italicized blocks of quotes are from the Will of Ali bin Abi Talib (a) to his son.

Letter 07: Who Will Begin Where I End?

Dear You,

I’m doing pretty okay.  Nothing has changed, nothing has been forgotten, nothing has magically been fixed, but slowly two facts I have always known are sinking in and settling down:
i) No one can change the past.
ii) I’m only ever responsible for my own actions.

Wishing I had made different decisions doesn’t change what happened, and never will.  I can’t make you someone you’re not, no matter how angry or sad I get.  Only you can do that.  I can, however, decide what I want to be, how I want to change and in what way all that has happened will make me a better person. 

I can decide the kind of letters I would want someone to write to me long after I have left their lives.

—-

…I hastened to advise you on the best ways of leading a noble, virtuous and useful life. I hated the idea that death should overtake me before I could tell you all that I wanted to tell or that my mental capacities, like my bodily strength, might fall prey to deterioration. I convey all this knowledge to you, lest unreasonable desires, temptations and inducements start influencing you, lest adverse changes of times and circumstances should drag you into their mire…

I often find myself wishing I had started implementing my faith earlier.  I was taught all the relevant information as a child, but I never really applied all that I learnt.  I performed the actions but didn’t bother about what could not be taught in a classroom – their essence.  In this way, religion is like any other art or science.  You can learn all about its rules and technicalities, but until you actually immerse yourself into it and connect emotionally, you never truly master it.

Too often, the times we live in distract us into a Media Mindset.  We think and behave a certain way – even in our private lives and personal relationships – in order to fit in with the marketing society. After all if people didn’t lie to each other and break each other’s hearts, if people actually tried to make relationships work through the hard bits instead of abandoning them when a challenge arose…who would listen to all the songs about heartache, buy chocolate by the giant bar, eat ice cream by the tub and weep on the shoulders of agony aunts? A large number of corporations need for us to hurt each other in order to survive.

And those words: temptations, inducements, desires…so emotionally-charged and yet how many times have you seen them used casually in adverts or on television?  From cars to chocolate bars, the subliminal message is “Don’t think, just act”.  Because if you pause to think, you might (gasp!) actually become aware of your responsibilities and do what you’re supposed to instead of what you want to.

Why does it matter that we do the right thing or make the right choices anyway?  Because Creation survives on balance. So it only makes sense, that if we see things unbalanced in the world we live in, that there is a counter-action somewhere that will happen to balance it out.  Call it the Universal Sine Wave if you will. 

Each of us contributes to this Wave with every breath we take.  And since every action has an equal and opposite reaction, if we don’t see the reaction straightaway, then it’s waiting somewhere to happen.  That is why we are to be held accountable for every word, every whisper, every thought, every action we make in our lifetimes.  And if annual tax audits and monthly cheque books give us a headache, are we ready for the Real Accounting in which there will be no chance to play with the numbers?

—-

I have made use of early opportunities…before you start facing life unprepared for the encounter, and before you are forced to use your decisions and discretions without gaining advantages of accumulated traditions, collected knowledge and experiences of others. The advice and counsel that I give will save you from the worry of acquiring knowledge, gathering experiences and soliciting others for advice. Now you can easily make use of all the knowledge men acquired with great care, trouble and patience. Things which were hidden from them and which only experiments, experiences and sufferings could bring to light are now made easily available to you through this advice.

I’ve often heard and I think this might be your reason too (although I am fast doubting all the things I thought I knew about you), that people rebel against religion because they don’t want to be ‘controlled’ or because it doesn’t make ‘sense’.  Neither of these really hold fast under scrutiny.

For one, it doesn’t have to make sense to you – not immediately anyway.  What would you say to a child in kindergarten who told you quantum physics didn’t make sense?  Say that to yourself.

And the controlling excuse is a little lame to say the least.  Trying to live something as complex as Life without guidelines – and in the process risking your Hereafter – is like buying a new gadget, trashing the Manual and trying to get it to work on your own.  We all do that because we like to think that since the gadget was designed by another human being, we have access to the same intelligence / common sense they used and should be able to ‘make it out’ on our own.  Even in the event that we don’t end up with ‘extra’ pieces that we’re sure some generous / incompetent packer threw in and we do get it to work, it takes a whole lot more time to finally enjoy the product than if we had just followed instructions

In the case of Life, it’s not even another human being who did the creating and you have no guarantee you’ll figure it out before you run out of time.  God made the product, and it’s a mighty complicated one at that.  He Knows how it works, what it’s meant for and what will make it work best. That’s why He sent religion as a User Manual. 

The correct manual will not only show you what the different bits are, where they fit together and how they really work – it will show how to best use what you have when you’re done putting it together.  That’s why religion is a choice.  You’re supposed to pick the one that not only makes most sense, but also yields results.
 
Religion isn’t about control, it’s about self-control. It’s also about knowledge and growth and love and strength and discovery and discipline and progress and all those amazing things that no one seems to want to know about anymore.  That is the real reason why God sent us rules and guidelines.  Not to lord over us or prove that He’s ‘In-Charge’. Not to place restrictions over us and make us into little pawns enslaved into His Way of Doing Things.  If He wanted that, then giving us Free Will kinda botches up the plan, no?

But honestly, it’s like we want to mess things up as much as possible.  We try to make it sound like we’re gaining valuable experience by making mistakes.  Here’s the catch though: we’re all making the same mistakes over and over again…and no one’s learning anything from the experience.

I might be biased but one of the many reasons I love my faith is that it jolted me pretty early on out of the misconception that you can learn only from your own mistakes.  True, you will make them, whether you like it or not, but wisdom involves learning from the mistakes of others as well.  If you can work upwards from the lessons learned by someone else, then your own growth will be from an elevated step and you’ll reach higher.

Isn’t that how all progress works?  One generation of scientists experiments and makes a hundred mistakes before making one discovery. The next generation doesn’t start from scratch, they build on the one discovery and make their own different hundred mistakes before opening the next door of knowledge. We wouldn’t have Bugattis to drool over if everyone kept re-inventing the wheel, would we?

It’s how innovations work in art and business and psychology does something similar in regard to human behaviour.  So why aren’t we willing to do the same in terms of self-building and spirituality.  Are we so blinded by pride that we cannot agree to be corrected and change ourselves – for our own good – to become better human beings just because someone else is telling us how?

I don’t want to be that proud or that blind. I want to move so that I take at least One Step Forward in my life, so that the people who follow me will have that much of a higher base from where I began my journey on which to begin theirs.  I want to have contributed something to The Wave that will result in a higher peak on its next upward swing. 

This Will I am weaving my thoughts around, it is a treasure of knowledge and experience. Starting so late to use it or to share it with you has been a mistake on my part, and a loss to both of us.  I’m trying to make up for that on my side. I wonder, is it too much to hope you will on yours…?

Always,
Me.

*All italicized blocks of quotes are from the Will of Ali bin Abi Talib (a) to his son.

Letter 06: You left, you lied, you lost.

Dear You,

My first thought was, he lied in every word.”  I’m tempted to quote Robert Browning about you, but then I would be dishonest.  My first thought was always how you honest you were.  Turns out I was wrong.  Oh so painfully wrong.

The weeks that have passed between my last letter and this one have revealed so much that I didn’t know, it feels like I’ve woken up from a daze to a harsher, sharper, more real world. The reason I waited before writing though is because in waking up, I had to swim through a sea of emotions, the like of which I have never felt before and hope never to feel again.

Betrayed is a harsh word and one I always thought was too melodramatic for real life use.  But it’s what I felt to the very core of my being.  And anger…such an ocean of rage that I was afraid I would drown forever in the tumultuous waves of red that washed over me again and again and again… 

It was only by repeating to myself the words of Ali ibn Abi Talib (a) that anger is a form of madness and “if someone does not feel any remorse after anger, it means that his madness has become fixed” that I was able to find an anchor and drag myself to the shores of sanity once again. It filtered out the anger until I saw the truth for what it was.  I never sensed the analogy of the Family of The Prophet (s) being like the Ark of Noah, a salvation from sinking into the depths of the deep, to be as true as I did in these past few days.

But how tired and drained the experience has left me, how worn out and scraped to rawness inside.  And how I have wished you were there to comfort and support me, to simply talk me through it.  (The juxtaposition of this is not lost on me.)

The fact that you were not there emphasized what I had learnt; a truth I may repeat more than once simply because it’s taking some time to sink it.  You lied.  With every word and every promise, with every assurance and every pledge…you lied.  You said you had lost everything when you left, and I believed you.  But – unknown to me – barely a few weeks later you had not just erased me from your life but already replaced every aspect of me so easily, so smoothly, so eagerly that I am tempted to think there never was a gap left in the first place.

I remember you always saying you wanted to leave an impact in my life, add something to my knowledge.  This then is what you have taught me: that people will say many things, but mean a very few of them.  That words can sound pretty, but mostly echo with hollowness.  That at the end of the day, it is the actions of a human being that matter, not the things they say.

But you have also taught me one other thing: not to ever be like you. You have made me determined to never again say anything to anyone unless I mean it, never to lie to another person, never to do to someone else – male or female, young or old – what you did to me.  Your lies have made me a better person, because I refuse to make excuses for them.

I have little doubt that much of my current perceptions are still tinged with emotion, but there is always a Right and Wrong in any situation and I have done my best to use what God has made clear, as a measure.  I have made a note of every instance where I was the one in the wrong and have already apologized for each –  you are my witness to that. 

I have blamed myself for being naïve, gullible and blind. I have taken responsibility for my own assumptions on your behalf, for seeing more in you than was really there, for mistaking potential as realized qualities, but… I will not blame myself for trusting you.  Trust is a precious gift and I know when I gave it to you, I had done all within my power to first ensure you deserved it. 

However, I am only human and must accept that my ignorance is destined to always be vastly greater than my knowledge.  It was this sense of being mistaken, of remorse, of shame, of feeling…well, utterly stupid, that I opened the Will in order to write this letter, all the while wondering how I could possibly find words to suit what I was feeling.

And a miracle happened…

—-

Develop patience against sufferings, calamities and adversities. This virtue of patience is one of the highest values of morality and nobility of character and is the best habit that one can develop.

Patience.  If there was one thing I needed to hear, one piece of advice, one magic word to prop up the emptiness inside me, it was this.  I have fluctuated between anger and abasement, between feeling unfairly done by and a need for revenge (yes, I am ashamed to have given in to the pettiest of feelings).  And through it all, there was a sense of restlessness, a need for someone to do something to set things right.  The moment I read this sentence, something switched off inside of me.  It was as if that holy voice from centuries ago had whispered calm upon the furious waves of the sea of my soul, and sense returned to claim its rightful place in my heart.

Patience.  Through betrayal, through pain, through humiliation, through realising that in the months I have spent empathizing with your choice, making excuses for your behaviour and grieving over a unique friendship, you had simply shrugged and gone on without so much as an apology or a show of remorse. 

Patience.  In the knowledge that you have chosen to go down a different path from the one I had expected you to.  Even separately, I had always thought you would chose to go forward.  Instead, I have to live with the discovery that you have regressed. 

Patience.  During the days of disappointment when it finally dawned on me that you never existed, not the you I had in my mind.  Or perhaps you did, but you have now chosen to be someone less.

Patience. In realising that I can neither excuse nor respect your decision. That I cannot even respect the person you have become anymore.

Patience. Always.

But how am I – the most impatient person I know – to ever be able to maintain this quality?

—-

Trust in Allah and let your mind seek His protection in every calamity and suffering.  Because you will thus entrust yourself and your affairs to the Best Trustee and to the Mightiest Guardian. Do not seek help or protection from anybody but Allah.

Reading this also reminded me of a factor I had forgotten.  For the past few years, ever since I met you, this is something I have always done.  I always sought Him out before making any decisions.  When I was wary of trusting you, I asked Him to let me know what to do. When you were seeking answers, I asked Him on your behalf (because I knew you never would yourself, but that’s perhaps a story for another letter) to provide solutions.  

I did seek His Protection in every step along the way.  And while I cannot be completely un-biased about my own views, I’d like to believe that I only took the paths He seemed to direct me to. I might have been really bad at taking directions and reading the signs, or you might have been a really good liar.  I don’t think it’s fair of me to make a decision on that count, so only you and Him know the truth about that.

But there has always been someone to do something to make things right.  Not just someone, but the Only One and not just something, but The Best Thing. 

Naturally, realising that I had turned to God along the way and considering (I’m pretty sure) there were no warning lights or sirens that went off to warn me of your potential hypocrisy, I wondered ‘why?’  Why wasn’t there something – considering how much I looked out for it – to warn me of your duplicity and shallowness, of lack of determination or loyalty on your part.  Why was I not able to see that when things came to a head, you would think of yourself first?  Why didn’t my Mightiest Guardian protect me from you?

Guess what? God’s Chosen Guides don’t give incomplete advice…

—-

Reserve your prayers, your requests, your solicitations, your supplications, and your entreaties for Him and Him alone.  Because to grant, to give, to confer and to bestow, as well as to withhold, to deprive, to refuse, and to debar, lie in His and only in His Power. Ask as much of His Favours and seek as much of His Guidance as you can.

I did ask as much of His Favours and His Guidance as I could.  I asked until I was ashamed of my constant demands.  And then I asked some more.  Unfortunately, in the initial throes of my recent anger, I might have turned to others in seeking help first.  But when I did finally turn back to Him, delayed as my seeking out of Him was, He was waiting with open arms.

I have found solace and strength hidden in the randomest of places – in lectures I happen to listen to after weeks of them sitting in my MP3 player, in supplications I decide to read on a whim, in books I have had for months but never opened, in conversations with friends…it’s almost as if He is using the universe to tell me He’s there for me, and has always been, and why have I ever looked elsewhere for a reply?

Ali bin Abi Talib (a) says: “A servant will never savour the taste of faith until he knows that which afflicts him would never have missed him, and that which has missed him would never have touched him, and that the only One to induce harm or benefit is Allah, the Mighty and Exalted.”

Much as I know and firmly believe that it is in His (and His Alone) Wisdom to bestow, I needed reminding that it is also His (and His Alone) Right to refuse.  And because He is Perfectly Loving, His refusal is never based on a desire to watch us squirm or suffer.  There is always a Greater Purpose.  Just like we inject helpless infants with viruses to vaccinate them against disease, God sometimes infects us with weaker versions of great temptations so that we can learn how to resist and always return back to our healthiest state – being with Him.

God Loves me.   He doesn’t enjoy watching me hurt, but Knows when I need pain to introduce me to parts of my self I didn’t know existed.  The contrast between that and how easily you watched me hurt without flinching makes your claims of friendship and affection seem trite, even when I don’t factor in the lies.

—-

Try to understand my advice, ponder over it deeply, do not take it lightly and do not turn away from it. The best knowledge is that which benefits the listener. The knowledge that does not benefit anyone is useless and not worth learning or remembering.

I won’t pretend I suddenly understand why things played out the way they did, why I have to carry around a bitter taste in my mouth, why your flaws had to be revealed in such a public manner.  I will not pretend I don’t feel the occasional burst of anger or that I don’t wish you’d feel the full weight of shame and regret at what you have done.  But I do struggle against them and soon I am sure, with His Help, they will fade away and only leave behind the familiar pain that I think I will always carry with me.  It will serve as a warning against others like you.

And yet, I must face the reality that He Loves you too. That’s part of the Beauty of His Love – that I don’t need to feel jealous of the fact that He does or worry that His loyalties are split because He Loves us both equally.

I tried to tell you about His Love for you more than once.  To share with you the weighted treasures of faith, but you were always looking to be distracted by lighter things that didn’t require you to face uncomfortable truths.  I will always regret indulging you in the things not worth learning or remembering.

What I truly wanted was to share with you His Beauty as I know of it, to show you this wonderful path of submission that I am trying to walk on, and take on each adventure with you.  I wanted to watch your delight as you discovered Him and unlocked the secrets He has hidden in us and in the words He has given us in abundance.  I imagined my pride in watching you grow and the safety I would have in knowing you were there to encourage me to grow as well.

These are some of the things you lost when you turned away.  And I am sad for your loss because I have known life with and without them and it is a sorry, empty shell of an existence you have chosen.   There is a part of me that cares enough to find a source of concern in that. I am sad that you will never read these letters and know how much I grieve for your loss.

But I can’t halt my journey for you.  The One Calling me is far more powerful in His Attraction than you could ever be.  Perhaps I’ll look over my shoulder for a while (maybe always?) to see if you decide to come along after all.  But I cannot wait for you or follow you, because you’re running blindly towards the edge of a cliff.

Despite everything you’ve done, I know these are choices.  Who knows, perhaps you have not destroyed your inner core yet?  Perhaps you have not run so far into the shadows as not to be able to come back to the light?  If despite knowing you so little, I had managed to see some sort of goodness (unless it was imagined), then how much potential does He Know you have – which was His reason for creating you in the first place?  These are not things I am qualified to judge.

I am also aware that one of the most Merciful qualities of God is that He hides our flaws.  Without this, we would never be able to leave our homes and face society.  I have mentioned nothing in this letter except what you have flaunted with your own actions and words.  Things you were not ashamed to hide yourself.  This letter is not a precursor to more revelations of your flaws. The things you have said to me in confidence are a trust I will take to my grave with me, because I intend to keep the promises I made.

And so, this is no longer between me and you. I have handed the matter over and called Him in as my mediator.  If I am mistaken in everything I have concluded so far, then I believe that He will provide you with all you need to find your way back to Him and a clean conscience.  I dearly hope you have the sense to respond.

If I am right, then I’m afraid I don’t yet have the generosity – nor do I think it is required – to simply let what you have done pass.  If a wrong has been done, it must be accounted for.  I have no doubt of His Justice in settling this matter. Or His Mercy.

Always,
Me