Written By: Johnny
Have you ever written a letter to yourself? One where you express a true reflection of yourself in that moment and send it to yourself in the future. I wrote one of these letters in high school while on a religious retreat. The purpose of that exercise was to date the letter in the future and seal the envelope to remind ourselves of what we learned on the retreat. Nothing written in it bleeds too nerdy, but the passion of my past self in that moment is very evident and reflective of how passionate I am about the things I love.
The religious retreat in my senior year meant a lot to me, it was a turning point in my life. throughout parochial school I had plenty of in house retreats that were meant to strengthen your ties to god, but none really stuck. Sophomore year I remember some worship video comparing Yoda’s training of Luke Skywalker to the messages of Jesus. Senior year offered an alternative to the boring in house retreat, something called Kairos. Kairos was an optional four day retreat that was a really in-depth look at yourself and faith.
Now, I struggled with faith for most of my life in christian school, that weekend made me think differently about what god was or even if it existed. Leading up to the retreat I was very doubtful and downright dismissing of god. After the retreat my faith was strong, really strong; so strong that I kind of regret some of what I wrote in the letter to myself. After the retreat, I became stronger in my self identity, it was one of the things that eventually built up the confidence to write this blog and record a podcast each week. Lastly, this retreat is still important to me is that this was the first time I really met the person I love, my loving girlfriend of seven years.
I asked the retreat directors, Sister Eileen & Father Bill, to send this letter to me on my 18th birthday, August 2, 2008. It said
I have wrote this to you on December 9, 2007; on day four of the Kairos retreat. By now, you’re preparing for college and hopefully going to Penn State Main Campus… Good luck. On this retreat, I’ve learned that a god does exist and it is active in our daily lives. It is alive in you and wants the best thing for you. I hope we have a girlfriend. haha. Please when you get this, go through your Kairos book and letters, try to remember your mission to serve the virtues I learned on this retreat. Please do this for me if it means so much.
Signed, your loving self,
P.S. Don’t get too wrecked on your 18th birthday, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE DRIVING
This letter to myself was written almost eight years ago, during the last day of a religious retreat while I was an impressionable age. I am happy to report that I did drink on my 18th birthday (sorry dad), but I did not drive. I was in a relationship at the time I received the letter and I’m in the same relationship now, aside: I love you Anya very much. I wasn’t accepted to Penn State Main in my freshman year of college, but I did go to a satellite campus and transfer in year three.
Lastly, my opinion on god has changed a lot of times since then, and I say that happily. I don’t believe in God, and I don’t believe there isn’t a god either. I believe in facts. Currently, science has no evidence to prove or disprove the existence of gods, the afterlife, or evil; so I choose to not believe. I can say that structured religion served a purpose in my life as a child, because as a child I needed structure on about what is right and wrong. Now that I am grown I can’t believe in thousand year old viewpoint of the cosmos that there is God above, and hell below; and that shrimp cocktail and gay sex send you to the latter. Whether there is a higher power exists is not for me to say, it really is a matter of faith. Whether you believe or not, please respect the opinions of others and try not to jam your opinion down anyones throats or up their asses.