'Dear God, I Hate You!'
One of the contributors to this book offered an example of how they had used this 'journalling' for themselves. It is a piece of very powerful and moving writing which we reproduce just as we received it - as a witness to the potential value of journalling.
“The tradition of Christianity to which I belonged for the best part of forty years meant that my brand of faith was a somewhat 'whiter than white', nicer than nice, and ultra-polite business.
I talked to God in prayer in the way in which my parents had taught me to relate to important people - with smiles, reticence and courtesy (lots of 'pleases' and 'thank yous'). I did my best to maintain a safe distance between God and my emotions - for I had been taught as a child: 'Nice people keep themselves to themselves.... especially when around those who are deemed to be 'the important ones'. Rarely, if ever, did God get much in the way of an honest communication from me during all those years - even when I was depressed or beside myself with fear, fury or grief. He was far too important for that.
A few years ago things began to alter for me as I began to change as a person. To my surprise, I discovered (belatedly in life) that God could be as much a part of my inner, 'feeling' world as of my outer, rational self. I then began to realise that there were certain matters which I must sort out with God or I might burst with pent up emotion, be spiritually crippled or find my faith evaporating.
I had a problem. How could I in mid-life, start to express in prayer those feelings about which I had been inarticulate in the past? Habits die hard. 'You could try writing a letter to God...' tentatively suggested my Spiritual Director, knowing that I communicate easily with pen and paper.
So, I started to write a series of letters which sometimes began with the greeting, 'Dear God, I hate you!' In them I plainly, colourfully, and using more expletives than a well brought-up lady like me is supposed to know, began to tell God just how I felt about his treatment of me. My anger spilled over the paper at (what I then perceived to be) his indifference to the tricky plight of me and mine; at the way in which he had ( as I then saw it) let me down and failed to keep his part of bargains we had struck; at the injustice that my children were hurt (it seemed by God); at my inner, gnawing, chronic pain at what was happening in and around me; at my absolute powerlessness to change my situation. This was the first time I was able to face just how angry I was with God and begin to share it with him.
Those letters enabled me to bring the chaos and hurt of my inner world to God, to express my feelings in all their raw ugliness, and to discover that it was permissible (by God if not all of his followers), safe and healing for me to pray in such a way. God understood it all - and instead of withdrawing from me surrounded me with his love.
At the end of this exercise I discovered that by saying 'I hate you, God!' I was in fact confirming that often love and hate go hand in hand. What really I was meaning by those words was 'Dear God, I love and trust you enough to bring my hiddenness, my shades and shadows to you with all its unknownness and fear... I'm safe enough with you to be able to do this...'
The exercise of 'letter writing prayers' enabled me later to begin to articulate these feelings in silent and articulated prayer.”