Letter to God: Week 1 | Day 7
Hannah Tadros shares her experience of completing the first week’s activity, writing a “Letter to God”: how reluctance and even fear turned into not one but four letters to the One who calls her “beloved.”
Activity: Write a Letter to God
Transcript: So when Brother David approached me with the idea to do this exercise, my first impulse was, “Yes!” And then I saw the exercise and my first impulse was, “No!” There was a real reluctance when I saw that this was a letter to God. That I was sitting and dwelling on this phrase, “You are my beloved,” and that I in turn had to respond. There was a real reluctance and also a fear to actually do that. And I flipped through and looked at the other exercises and said, “Can I do that one instead? Can I do that one instead?” They just seemed easier I guess to get out there to talk to, or to work, or to do something, rather than just sit and dwell on this thought, and to just sit in silence with God and respond to a phrase like, “You are the beloved.”
And then I read Brother Mark’s piece in the Fall edition of the Cowley, where he talks about how Jesus, after receiving this message that, “You are my beloved,” doesn’t head out and get to work. He goes into the wilderness and he’s alone with this for 40 days, and that struck me. I was like, “Let’s go heal the lepers and yell at Pharisees instead.” Jesus is withdrawing and being alone with God in this time.
So I took it as a little bit of a challenge, and a push, and I tried to stay with that thought that God is love and that God loves me personally. And I tried to kind of delve into the reluctance and the fear. For years what I hoped to believe about love, and what I used really as a prayer book, was Kahil Gibran’s The Prophet. And his section on love was one of my favorites. It talks about love as this dual entity. He says, “It will crown you but it will also crucify you.” And he talks about love’s threshing floor, and how you start as a grain, and then it goes through kind of violent imagery to get you to the other side to be flour after you’re husked and ground, and to be part of God’s sacred feast. And I think there is something very appealing in that imagery but also very terrifying. And I think part of that was my reluctance to sit with this piece.
And all of this kind of made it to the four letters I ended up to God, because they were all over the place. My reluctance, my fear, and after I sat with it a little bit my nostalgia, and kind of longing, and that feeling of missing God, and missing that intimacy that I feel like I have run away from a lot. So that’s where the exercise went for me. It went all over the place. I found many different responses in me to the thought of being God’s beloved, and I kind of put them all down and left them up to God.
– Hannah Tadros
Slowly writing out our words of love for another person can be a meditative practice that connects us in a deep way. This week, spend some time hand-writing a letter to God. What would you say? How might you express your love for God in words?
Watch Video Guidance | Download Activity as PDF | Sample Completed Activity
Thanks Hannah for stepping into the breach on so challenging a mission. For me, prayer is my daily email with God….he does not always answer but I benefit from learning through composition of the prayer. Observing Lent is a concentration of this process…..the emails are more extensive, the thoughts more considered and they are networked through websites such as this with others on the same journey to live and spread love and prevent , or at least delay, the world’s crucifiction. Since starting the Lenten process, my prayers have become less rote and more of an animated dialogue with God.
Thank you, Hannah, for your honest words. It freed me to write two letters to God, when before I wasn’t sure I could write even one.
I loved your statement, “Let’s go heal the lepers and yell at Pharisees” instead of quietly sitting with being the Beloved. That’s an uncomfortable thing, isn’t it? Uncomfortable, and absolutely essential if we are to be resurrection people. Sigh.
This video was brilliantly conceived. A true, heartfelt witness from “just one of us”, rather than from “Another Brother”. And her words, as a participant, moved me more than would have the carefully chosen words of one of the Brethren.
Why? Well, it’s because I, also, had decided to just “blow off” writing my letter to God, for similar reasons. Don’t know what to say, don’t have the time, don’t really feel comfortable about it, yada … yada … yada. Maybe I was really just afraid to get that deeply involved in my own relationship with God. I’m really not a particularly prayerful person, so why in the world would I want to send God a letter?
So than you, Ms. Tadros, for your inspiring witness. I think I’ll go put on some really spiritually uplifting music now, sharpen a pencil, and start writing my letter to God.