Hello. I hope you are well. I have something to tell you, and it doesn’t matter to me if you read this or not, but I hope you do. You were right, and I was wrong. But also, I was right and you were wrong.
When we had our talk on September 11, 2009, you said a lot of things I didn’t want to hear, but eventually, I took them all in and tried to accept them. You recommended that I seek therapy—that it had helped you and Mary. Eventually, I did. My therapist and I talked a lot about my childhood, my parents, religion, God, Catholicism, and you and Mary and the whole ordeal.
So you were right about that. I needed help to get over a few things. I still feel a bit foolish thinking you and Mary could have been helpful to me.
You were right about Maryanne, too. She does in fact not have a “light” that shines within her. After the fallout, we discovered that she is actually one of the most selfish, conniving people I’ve ever known. She tried several Machiavellian-style maneuvers on B.. Book club has become a chore to attend; B. calls it “the Maryanne and Lulu show.” So you and Mary were right about that too, and Mary was right to end that relationship. B. had to maintain some kind of relationship with her because they work together, but recently Maryanne changed departments, and she basically forgot that B. exists. They rarely speak. We’ve come to the conclusion that she’ll be anyone’s friend as long as she needs something from them. As soon as she discovered that B. wasn’t really into fawning over her or indulging in her dramas, their friendship cooled. So yes, you were right about that, too.
But here’s what you were wrong about: me. I know that you did not understand what I was trying to do. I know that I fumbled my message over and over again, trying to make it right. I needed your help and I wanted it. I was desperate for anyone to listen to me. I felt so betrayed, and so foolish for making such a big leap of faith. It was all about God and family and love; I wanted those things so much. It still aches inside of me.
In 2010, I began meeting with priests. We talked some, I cried some. I met with a woman from the RCIA. I learned a lot about sacraments and obligation, and some things about the inner workings of the church. It was very fascinating. There were times I wished that we were still friends, just so I could ask you and Mary questions.
I attended a Sunday Mass. I was underwhelmed.
Right now there is something in me that wants to believe, but does not. I have read a book or two about Christianity since we spoke, and I’ve talked with a lot of people online. I’ve considered the Episcopal Church. But something keeps me away.
I’m sorry, Paul. Sorry I didn’t understand Holy Obligations and why that’s a big deal. I’m sorry I opened my heart to you. I’m sorry I couldn’t ask for help until it was too late and I’m sorry you didn’t want to offer it. I’m sorry I loved you and your wife, and I’m sorry I told you I did. I’m sorry you did not love me back. Actually, I’m not sorry for loving you and your wife. If I loved you “what business is it of yours” anyway? I’m sorry you and I and B. and Mary don’t get to be friends, and have cool parenting adventures together.
Sometimes I wish I could call you—that I hadn’t deleted your phone numbers and email addresses. Sometimes I wish we could all still be friends. But then I remember how much you hurt me, and my wife. That’s when I realize that even if I want to be friends, to “have fun” and conversation with you and Mary, it can never be.
Maybe I’ll never be a Christian again. Maybe I’ll never genuflect and praise God quite the same way that you do. Maybe I’ll never take communion like you do. But I know something about human decency. And I have to tell myself that what you did was not only “not nice,” it was also the most un-Christian—the most indecent—thing to do.
So I guess I was wrong about you, too. Goodbye.