I had fingers to type with when I ‘wrote’ this letter when I was 20, but nobody was home inside. Most of this letter was copied from a religious text from the Baha’I Faith. I recognize the words now, 37 years later. I don’t even make this point in this in the letter, ‘acting’ instead as if the words were my own.
I had left my drug abusing husband for a matter of weeks, traveled to see friends a thousand miles away, done a few acid trips of my own, returned to him and wrote this letter. How terribly, terribly tragic, sad and pathetic.
He had been raised by an abusive chronic alcoholic father. I had been raised by an abusive mad woman. He was 21, and our poor daughter was 14 months old.
I do not hold any particular religion responsible for the condition of the members of its community. I do know that people who were severely abused as children, particularly when the grow up with insecure attachment disorders, can try to organize and orient their thinking and their lives by subsuming the ideas found in religions ‘as if’ they were their own. Obviously, I was doing so here.
It is, of course, not the fault of any religion that this happens. Yet rarely is this pattern recognized when it needs to be. How could it? There was nobody in my life when I was 20 that could have helped me any more than there had ever been when the damage to me was done for the 18 years of my childhood. I was living life as a piece of empty chafe blowing in the wind, without the seed of a life anywhere in or around me.
The drug culture, certainly of the 60s and 70s and still so today, can serve the same purpose as a religious community for empty, damaged and lost people, particularly if they are survivors of extremely malevolent childhoods. The Latin root of the word religion – ‘religio’ – means to tie and bind together. Gangs often serve the same purpose. The depth of such attractions are about as shallow as the one created by static electricity between dust and my television screen.
This is what happened to me because I had no healthy self, and no relationship with my self. I just didn’t know it then. I didn’t know it for the next 30-plus years of my life, either. In fact, I am only now learning that having a cohesive, integrated, non-dissociated SELF is different from trying to create one by organizing and orienting one’s life around external factors.
March 7, 1972
Dear Mom and Dad,
The phone call the other night was so fine, I felt very close to you all. I just finished writing both Cindy and John, and feel I must write you, if only just briefly.
Honesty is an unparalleled virtue, and possession of it can lead only to a much closer relationship between the peoples of this earth. It lacks power if experienced only one-sidedly. Something given honestly needs to be understood in all honesty or pain and distress ensue. As your daughter, things I share with you are somewhat more difficult to explain because you have a love for me as your child causing you to want only the best of happiness for my life. Sometimes it is that this happiness can be achieved by a totally different approach to life. When everything is considered in the same Light, the understanding is complete, and the love draws you to new heights.
I have a deep and abiding love for my husband, and I want only his happiness as you want mine. It has taken me a long time of struggling within myself to begin to see in part what it is that is being demanded of me in this life. I see what marriage must be to be a truly real marriage. Perhaps if I shared some of what I feel with you, you might understand the things that are so hard for us to see.
Both parties in marriage must show forth the utmost attention and become informed of one another’s character and the firm covenant made between each other must become an eternal binding, and their intentions must be everlasting affinity, friendship, unity and life. A Godly marriage means that both man and woman must become spiritually and physically united, so that they may have eternal unity throughout all the divine worlds and improve the spiritual life of each other.
Among the majority of the people marriage consists of physical relationship and this union and relationship is temporary for at the end physical separation is destined and ordained. But the spiritual relationship for both of them are intoxicated with the wine of one cup, are attracted by one Peerless Countenance, are quickened with one Life and are illumined with one Light. This is the spiritual relationship and everlasting union. Likewise in the physical world they are bound together with strong and unbreakable ties.
When relationship, union and concord exist between the two from a physical and spiritual standpoint, that is the real union, therefore everlasting. But if the union is merely from the physical point of vie, unquestionably it is temporal and at the end separation is inevitable.
Consequently when we desire to enter the sacred union of marriage, eternal connection and ideal relationship, spiritual and physical association of thoughts and conceptions of life must exist between them, so that in all the grades of existence and all the worlds of God this union may continue forever and ever for this real union is a splendor of the light of the love of God.
I believe this is the only way a marriage can exist, and from the strenth [sic] gained from a union of this quality can a child be reared in a religious, spiritual and heavenly training.
The search and the acquisition of the Realities of God are purely an individual one. Even the person that loves another and is willing to die for them has not the power to give this to another. It has taken a long time for me to come to grasp this. I feel that I may be doing more to hinder [P’s] search than to guide him towards the light. Any attempt I make to reach the real him is taken as a push, and he becomes immediately defensive towards me. Our relationship lacks ANY fundamental spiritual foundation, and I can not communicate with [P]. He was happy to see me return, but makes no effort to be loving to me or [my daughter]. He is basically unhappy, and finds little comfort in marriage. I know, and he knows that the potential is there for us to build a strong relationship of peace and happiness, but he refuses to come to grips with the real problems in his own life or our marriage. My showing him how I feel in daily actions for him, my services are accepted as if he had obtained a personal maid who cared as much for him.
Since my return, my eyes have been opened, and I am being shown for the first time things I have previously closed my self off from seeing. I cannot at this time say what the future holds for us, but I want you to attempt to see the situation as perhaps it really is. I am responsible for raising my child in the Light of the Lord, but [P] knows the responsibility for his own soul now is his own.
Pray for us, that perhaps through the Abounding Grace of our Father, the future will hold nothing but love and beauty in our world of our family, and together build the strength to overcome our difficulties. Pray, too, that if it is shown that this marriage is not going to produce fruits that we will be given the wisdom and the strength to follow the Will of God in our lives.
Your loving daughter, Linda