Seventeen years ago, I started writing letters to my inner self and got answers. After a while, I thought: "Hmm, if I can address myself and get answers, why not with God?" I had always heard to go to the top, so I started asking questions to God, first for myself and later for others, and God answered with a common sense and vision far beyond anything I could ever have thought of. And then questions were no longer necessary because God just started coming in with what He wanted us to hear. One thing about God, He wants His words shared, and so Heaven Letters is emailed out every day.
How did it happen that I started to hear and write down what God said?
My first answer is that I don’t really know.
My second answer is that it came from every thread of my life.
And the third answer is that it doesn't matter. What God says matters!
But I do know this: Heavenletters™ didn’t come from a flash of lightening. It was not an enormous event.
In loneliness and wanting and wondering and doubting and ignorance, I asked my human questions, and answers came, and the Answerer said Yes, He was God.
But how could these words my pen wrote be His? I knew they weren’t mine, but how could God’s words come to me? Oh, how I wanted confirmation.
So, innocently, to anyone who asked me what I was doing those days, I said: "Oh, I'm writing down God's words now in a notebook and --"
Rather than confirmation, I got funny looks. I kept Heaven to myself for a year until I cared less about what others thought and more of what God had to say.
He said Heaven had to be extended, and I had to extend it. So bravely I emailed daily Heavenletters™ to a friend or two, and then there were eight. And then there were sixteen. And then readers became subscribers, and then sixteen became sixty and so on, and an interactive newsletter arose.
And readers wanted to ask their personal questions directly of God too. Questions like:
How do I find love and how do I know when it is real?
How do I deal with the death of my child?
What is Heaven like?
How do I reconcile the world as it is with the Divine?
How can I make a living without struggling?
How do I let go of the past?
What is the meaning of life?
Heavenletters™ unfolded over time through interaction between God and me, as I wrote down His words, and between God and the pioneer readers as they asked their questions and received God’s answers. And so our perceptions changed.
As God listened to us, it became a possibility that He did indeed love us, as is, each one of us personally as well as collectively. This intangible possibility grew to be our experience. We might doubt ourselves again and again, but the practicality of God as an intimate Companion of our hearts continued to gain ground. Little by little, our little acceptance that God knew us and that we knew God grew into the beginnings of faith.
God responded to more than our questions. He gave more than our questions asked. He gave more than answers. He spoke to our hearts. No matter what the question was, or who asked it, God spoke to each and every one of us. We found out we were all the same. In that sense, we could grasp that we were all One with God.
All the while, God listened to us and our confusion and our fears, and He answered.
And then, after two years of publication, God wanted Heavenletters™ to go higher. He wanted them published without our personal agendas. We could still ask our questions of Him but separately from the published Heavenletters™. He was going to raise us up to Him, rather than bend down to us. We were to get out of the way. Now we were to listen to Him. We were to follow His lead. And so He would charm our lives, and change them, for through His words, we began to learn how to live life on earth as He intended.
The evolution of Heavenletters™ has played its part for you. God readied the early readers in stages, but He prepared you without your knowing it. You can pick up God’s love and wisdom now as it is placed before you. You can skip the steps. This is your entrance. You who are reading Heaven are meant to read it. It is for you. God gave it to you. Heavenletters™ are more than words. They are God’s Light upon usl.
And so the early readers paved the way for you, and with God’s blessings, you enter Heaven now. This is where you come in. And so you pave the way for those who follow you.
I am going to tell you a true story about how Heavenletters™ came into being. But before I do, I wish to say that I am hesitant to describe any of this, for three reasons:
1. Attention is better put on what God says rather than an individual's story.
2. These extricated experiences are not IT. They are part of it, or a tracing of some of it, but they are not IT. Even if every thread were described, we wouldn't have the truth. The truth is God leads us, and we can only guess how after the fact.
3. My story could be misleading. We all stumble alike, and still good things happen.
With this disclaimer, here is some of my story:
I was born into a Jewish family that was not spiritual or religious. My dear mother and father rather considered God as something people pretended to believe in, but no one really did. I did not buy into this, but I did not relate to God either. I had no thoughts about God.
There is one thing I can look back on in my young childhood that might have been a sign of something to come. It's a stretch to say so, but this is my story, so I can say so.
There was a large poster rolled up in a closet in our attic that I spent time unrolling and looking at. The poster was a picture of the face of a beautiful baby. The sky above the baby was dark blue and there was a star radiating there. It was a picture of Baby Jesus. I didn't know that then. My mother kept this picture because it looked like my brother Bennie when he was a baby!
Now we skip about fifty years, although there are also other possibilities and twists and turns that could be included, and are not.
Quite by chance, I saw part of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR on my daughter's TV. Then another time, again by chance, I caught another part of it, and I fell in love with it. My daughter recorded it for me. From then on, that was what I did just about every evening, watch JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR. I watched it 125+ times.
It was not simply a movie to me. God or Christ had enchanted it, or me, and I was there in the movie right with it. It played in my heart.
All of the stories of Christ's divinity I had learned in public school never made a dent in me. Quite the opposite. But in JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, his humanness drew me, and it was his humanness that awakened me to his divinity. He could get annoyed with his friends. He could be impatient. His friends let him down; why couldn't they even stay awake with him? And he wasn't keen on being crucified. He was real, spoke wisdom, and was innocent. It was through his humanness that I came to love him with all my heart.
Then JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR turned into a regular movie again, and the spell was over, as all spells are.
The same scenario was played with GODSPELL, appearing on my daughter's TV; she recorded it for me, and I watched it fascinated for 35+ times.
The second time I saw it, in the scene where Jesus removes the make-up from the faces of his friends and says good-bye to them, I heard myself blurt out: "I will never leave you again."
Now I am coming closer to how Heavenletters™ came about.
A friend of mine gave me a framed picture of Jesus. It was the picture of Christ manifested by Sai Baba from a photograph of the Shroud of Turin. I kept that golden picture of him on my coffee table.
When I was alone, I would sit by myself and really look into his eyes. His picture would melt me every time, and I would find myself crying. His compassion came forth from his eyes into my heart, and I would cry.
One time, no different from any other time, I was by myself, looking into his eyes, and suddenly Christ came out of the picture into the room and appeared before me. And then, before my eyes, his distinct image became golden light, all aura, and the light swirled before me and filled me.
And then he spoke to me. He said, "Gloria, I have been seeking you for a long time."
I said out loud: "YOU'VE been seeking ME?"
He said, "Yes, I have been seeking you for a long time."
And he went back into the picture.
Then I had a clear insight. I think the insight was given to me, and it wasn't really mine. It was that the seeker and the sought are the same. The seeker and the sought are the same. At the moment, I understood that fully. It had not been said in words, but I understood that that was what I was supposed to know. That was the meaning of what Christ had said to me.
I cried and laughed, and I thought that from then on, whenever I would look at that picture, Christ would appear to me again in gold light, but it never happened again.
I believe he introduced me to God and handed me over to Him.
And I write down God's words, which, of course, He wants shared with all who can receive them.
Beloved readers, how Godwriting and Heaven Letters came about, I can only guess. I can hitch this and that together and say this is how it happened, but I'm not really certain of How and What. Of course, I love to think that the Why was D * E * S * T * I * N * Y!
Not likely that anyone would have picked me out except God. I don't want to say that I am the most unlikely person, but I sure wouldn't have made the top ten list or hundred or ten thousand. Sometimes I think I was chosen (or did I choose myself?) so anyone could say, "Well, if SHE can do it, I certainly can."
Anyway, Godwriting™ happened, and I jump for joy to be part of it. I accept it wholeheartedly. What else could possibly absorb me like this. Only God. Nothing but God. What I call God, this Voiceless Voice that captures my being.
I am delighted, glad, grateful, proud, humbled, awed, and scared—for you don't really think I know what I'm doing, or where this is really going and what is going to happen next or that I am ready for it!
Sometimes Godwriting™ is just part of life like any other, like reading the newspaper or going for a walk. It's something I do. I sit down to it. When I'm in the midst of Godwriting™, I'm not thinking about it. I'm letting it happen. My whole focus is there. At the same time, I have to say that that is when I am at my happiest even though I am not conscious of happy or anything like that at the time. I could almost say that Godwriting™ is a time of no thought, no thoughts of my own, only God whispering His thoughts, and I listening for them. I say this although, when I'm Godwriting™, I am well aware of my surroundings, the wind in the trees, whether I feel hot or cold, and what my stomach feels like. I hear all the house sounds, and I can let the cat in. While Godwriting, life goes on.
How did it begin? The danger in trying to select events is that things are made more dramatic than they really were. But here goes -- this is my spiritual journey. I'll reveal all I can think of that seemed to lead up to Godwriting over a span of more than fifty years.
I always wanted to be a writer. When I was an unhappy teenager, I used to write up in the attic in a little alcove on a maple desk. Every night, without fail, and with relish, I would write about ten pages, filling both sides. I fell into a better filing system than I've ever had since. I just placed one written page after another face down in a drawer that was just the right size to hold the pages neatly. But wanting to be a writer wasn't the only thing going on in my life or occupying my thoughts. So this is not so big as it sounds now.
As years of writing went by and my writing was not so overtly autobiographical as it had been, my greatest lack was in plotting. I had even said, "If only someone could give me a plot and tell me what to write." I didn't mean dictation, of course, but, look, here I am now, taking dictation from the Storyteller of All Time!
Once, while I was writing a story, it was like another voice took over. This one time it was like the story was writing itself. It knew before I did what it was going to say next. It was about someone named Ursula, and I think she was a nun or later became a nun, and the story took place in another country, I believe. In the midst of this, I made myself stop because I had an appointment, and I never was able to pick up that story where it had left off.
Of course, I have sometimes wished I hadn't stopped and I wonder what the rest of the story would have been.
When I was a senior in high school, the counselor had suggested that I become a kindergarten teacher. She sent me to observe a kindergarten class, and, of course, I liked it. I went to college with the intention of becoming a kindergarten teacher. But when it came to choosing classes, I didn't want the elementary ed courses. I wanted the literature courses, and so I became a lit major.
I was not seeking God, yet I think that it was God in literature that drew me. Now I can say, What are the great thoughts of great writers but God's? What are all these eternal and universal truths but God's? But then I just knew I was drawn.
Religion never drew me. Sometimes I missed having what other people seemed to have, but of itself, I was way outside it. I didn't even get what religion was supposed to be. It was not real to me, and I had no reverence. I did not have disrespect either, but I could only have faked any connection to it or even understanding of what it might be or was really for. I did not feel God in a church or synagogue. Religion was a foreign language to me, and not one that I was ever going to bother to learn. And I haven't yet.
When I was in high school, it was a social thing to go to services on the High Holidays, and one time some other girls and I went to a little orthodox synagogue in the North End of the town I lived in. Only old people still went there. Of course, it no longer exists. The little old ladies sat in a balcony and they prayed with fervor. I felt these women had something I didn't, and that what they had was real and good, but that's the closest I ever got to feeling something deep religious-wise
When I was in college, there was one highly religious Jewish girl. Her name was Shulamith Moses. She was excused from Saturday classes. I knew Shulamith only in passing. Once in the ladies' room, she said to me, "You know, Gloria, some day you will really have to come to terms with God." I thought Oh, and didn't know what to make of it really. I felt some shame and puzzlement and had no idea what there possibly was to do about it. Of course, I did nothing. I have never forgotten Shulamith.
One summer I took a class in the Bible as Literature at UC Berkley, and I was disappointed. Whatever I expected to get from the class, I didn't get.
Looking back, the best Bible thing that ever happened to me was the five minutes or so every morning throughout my public school years when the teachers would read from the Bible before or after the Salute to the Flag. I don't imply that I really listened, but some of the words got from my ears to my mind and my heart. Any of the slight knowledge of the Bible I have comes from those mornings when the teachers read the Bible aloud.
Incidentally, I was literary editor of my high school yearbook. The yearbook had to have a special quote or theme - and I was the one to choose it, and this is what I chose: "Let your light so shine before men." Mathew. I must have known something before I knew anything.
I grew up in Massachusetts, but when I was married, I lived in Sacramento, California. My daughter was born there. I do not remember going to services, but my husband did, so I must have had some contact. The synagogue was hard up for a Sunday School teacher, and the cantor asked me if I would help out. I told him I had no background and all but he didn't see that as a problem. Isn't that a wonder?
I had a second grade class, and I pretty much did what I wanted. I guess there were books and we talked about the holidays and I faked it pretty well. I also remember doing some Waldorf School type things with the children. We reenacted Creation! We reenacted Creation! As God created the world, we put our arms up into a round O, and we said a big Ohhh. Then Adam (the boys) named everything and Eve (the girls) followed Adam around. After each naming, we all said a big admiring Ahhh, and we raised our arms in awe.
I had no faith, and no concern with God, and yet I would tell my daughter a story when she was little, about how God was looking for a wonderful little girl for her father and me, how God searched all over the world for the most precious child. He looked here and he looked there, until he found a magnificent little girl for us named Lauren. Of course, I strung it out.
It was only after I started meditating that I began to discover I was a spiritual being. My daughter was twelve then. My conscious desire for God grew and grew. I can remember times I was absolutely desperate to know God. I would pound my pillow, and cry out: "I want to know God. And I want to know I know." That went on for a couple of years before Godwriting™ started.
About fifteen years ago, long before Godwriting™, someone did my eastern astrological chart. He said I was going to do some spiritual writing. I said, "But I write fiction." He said, "That may well be, but you are going to do some spiritual writing." He said the writing would not be formal; it would be like talk. I just shrugged that off. I did not go around thinking about what he said. Actually, I was well into Godwriting and didn't remember it at all until one time, wanting to test an answering machine, I grabbed a tape and stuck it in. The random tape turned out to be the recording of that session with the astrologer. The answering machine worked, and the part I happened to hit on was: "You are going to do spiritual writing." Only then did I remember!
Also about fifteen years ago, I consulted with a very special chiropractor over the telephone. In the midst of his telling me what vertebrae were out and what tea I should drink, he started laughing. He said, "Oh, my, you are going to have great many spiritual blessings. You are going to be very happy." I asked him what form this happiness would take, and he said he wasn't allowed to know and I had to wait. Actually, I forgot about that too until I was giving a Godwriting™ workshop in Pennsylvania, and a friend of mine who was attending reminded me that I had told her about that long before.
About nine years ago, I came across a soft back edition in excellent condition of A Course in Miracles at the Bargain Box, a local Goodwill type store, for twenty cents! When I got it home, I discovered I was not able to read it. My eyes would go over the page but I couldn't read it. I couldn't even begin to read it. Every once in a while, I'd take it out and try again. No luck. It was a couple of years before, finally, not only was I able to read it, I couldn't put it down! I read it like a novel. It became a page turner. I am sure I read it faster than anyone in the history of man. I read it four times and did the workbook twice.
Godwriting™ started one of the times when I was still reading A Course in Miracles, and I am pretty sure it tilled the field, so to speak.
My Godwriting at this time was mostly personal, even though I may have been disseminating it. There was a Godwriting at this time when God casually said: "And when you have your ministry…." This was not happy for me. Ministry, even the word, was so far away from me. To me, it was an artificial imposed word, and I could not relate to it. It was a turn-off. I would never chose to have anything to do with any ministry and certainly not start one.
But, of course, I did. At least the word ministry is part of Heaven's name. Well, actually, at first, I hedged, and chose the name Heaven Association. Association I could deal with. I also liked that the initials formed HA. Then, lo and behold, we became Heaven Ministry (HM). Then later and now, we became The Godwriting International Society of Heaven Ministries (GISHM)! Ministry became plural, so I must be becoming good at it, though I still don't really know what ministry means. And, yes, I did send away for a paper, and I can call myself a minister even though it's all a mystery to me. God has called me typist, and that fits better.
Loving A Course in Miracles so much, I had started an informal weekly group where we met to read from it out loud. I never wanted to discuss interpretations. I never wanted to even hear anyone's interpretation. Just reading the words meant much more to me than any interpretation. I was not interested in studying the book. I didn't want anyone, no matter how wise or wonderful, telling me what a sentence or passage meant. Except for great deals at the Bargain Box, apparently I am not interested in anything second-hand.
I feel the same way about Heavenletters™, that they themselves give us more than any interpretation ever could. Fortunately, God agrees with me, or, rather, I am agreeing with Him. I hope that's what it is.
Early Godwriting™ was not exclusively from God. Sometimes it was Mother Divine or Mary and sometimes Christ. And there was a difference. Can't put my finger on it, but there was something. Once I sensed that it wasn't God or Christ or Mother Divine, and I asked, Who are you? And the answer was Raphael, the angel of healing. That happened only once.
Now to some more immediate factors that seemed to deliberately influence the arrival of Godwriting.
I have mentioned in The More Complete Story above about the influence of the two movies, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR and GODSPELL. Wasn't that a bizarre thing. I have mentioned also about the one beautiful time when Christ came out of the picture I have of him and appeared before me in his radiant gold light and told me he had been seeking me. Me!
But there are a couple of direct factors that I will tell you about now.
I had had a few American Indian soul recoveries done by a beautiful shaman in Arizona. This was over the telephone. What happens in a soul recovery is that the shaman invokes spirits who bring back lost pieces of soul, in this case, mine. They could be a part of me at birth, before birth, as a child, past life etc. The pieces of soul could have been lost because I gave them away, they were taken from me, or they might have flown away because of trauma. The pieces may have been located in this world or in the earth or in other dimensions. The shaman does not choose which pieces will come back. She simply tells what she has seen.
During a couple of soul recoveries, beautiful pieces would come back. Very sweet. Perhaps come back as a jewel. It was all like poetry.
Now that the pieces are back, you want to keep them. As part of the soul recovery, you thank each piece for coming back every day for twenty-eight days. You also ask them for what gift or knowledge they brought, and you ask what you can do to make them happy to stay.
I would do this in my mind, and then my mind would wander off, and I couldn't be sure I had really done it. I certainly didn't remember most of the time what had transpired. So after a while I started to write down what the pieces of my soul told me.
Pieces of me at aged seven might give me precious knowledge. Every day beautiful insights and wisdom came from these forlorn pieces of myself.
The shaman died, as we must all. And I had one session with another shaman. And it was different. If my original beloved shaman had been alive, I don't know whether the same pieces would have come back, but this time it was very different. The pieces that came back were not what I would call beautiful. One was a knife. One was a knife and a man and a woman as one. One was a black panther.
I followed the same procedure. The knife turned out to be my assertiveness. The man/knife/woman - the knife was my spine, the man my masculine side, and the woman my feminine. The black panther was my power. I don't remember now what exactly they said and wrote every day for the twenty-eight days, but every day something wise would come.
At some point, I thought: Good grief, if a knife or a black panther can give me wisdom, why not God?
There was one other tiny precipitating factor. A friend loaned me a little book translated from the French Lui et Moi, He and I. It contained the conversation between a sweet nun from olden days and Jesus. Basically, the book went like this:
The nun would write down the date and location of where she was. She would say she was unworthy to be in the presence of Christ. And Christ would say, No, no, she was worthy.
The simplicity and innocence of this book touched me very much.
At some point, I said to myself: If this little nun can do this, I certainly can. I can do better than this. I can branch out and ask wider questions.
And that's how I came to dare to write to God and hear what He had to say.
There is one other thing I would like to tell about from my soul recoveries with the first shaman. One time she had a vision. I have it written down in one of about a hundred notebooks, and when I find it, I will share the complete many-dimensioned vision she had with you, but I will tell you now what I do remember. It went like this:
I was on a ship, a great liner. It was sinking. Everyone was getting off and getting onto a rescue ship. I was going to get off the ship too, but I had to go a different way from everyone else. There was a rope like a clothesline high above the ship, and I held my arms up high and somehow got a hold of the rope, and, hand over hand, I got across the rope to the waiting ship -- or I slid down the rope to the ship -- I don't remember which. In any case, the point of the vision was that I have to go my own way and cannot go the way everyone else does.
And that seems to be true in life. I cannot go the way most everyone does. Sometimes this has seemed sad, and sometimes not sad. Just how it is.
That might explain why I have not been able to be part of a formal religion. Or much else really.
When I used to teach English and creative writing in junior high school, to help the children get started writing, I would tell them they could begin their composition something like this:
"Let me tell you about [my pet fish]."
And then I told them a way they could wind up their composition:
"Now that I have told you about [my favorite pet], will you tell me about yours?"
So, I say to you, now that I have told you my spiritual journey, will you tell me yours?
One by one, we bring earth closer to Heaven.
Gloria Wendroff, Godwriter™
The Godwriting™ International Society of Heaven Ministries
You can't Godwrite every day and stay the same. Some changes in me and my life happened quickly, and some took their own sweet time. Some haven't happened yet. And some changes stick around while others come and go. The trend is definitely up; the high's are higher, and the low's are higher too. I AM changed. But there is still more to come.
Some of the differences I notice may seem strange to you. They seem strange to me. And some of the differences are dreams come true.
First I'd better say something about the things that don't change at all:
Things That Don't Seem to Change At All
I still have to take out the trash every Tuesday morning. Money doesn't fall from trees. I buy things I don't need. My house is cluttered. I eat too much. I do dumb things, say dumb things. A driver in another car can honk at me. My car can stall and leak oil. My hair turns grayer. Loud noises startle me. I want my evolution to speed up or slow down, depending. I watch TV. I love a good movie, a good book, but I read junk too. I do crossword puzzles. I wonder about a lot of things.
You get the idea.
Some Unexpected Perhaps Less Desirable Changes But Who Knows
Here are some things I didn't bargain on:
It was a gradual realization, but I have become much more cynical. I don't know why it happened. Maybe it was going to happen anyway, but I seem to have become wiser in the ways of the world which is another way of saying that many of my ideals have been shattered. My faith in God has zoomed, while my belief in many other things has sunk.
When I was in high school, I did a book report on The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoievsky. I got an A+++ on that report, and the teacher wrote: "Despite your youth, you have a dawning sense of the tragic sentiments of life." Now I think the teacher was mistaken and that sense has just dawned.
I used to be tremendously naïve. I know some may think I am naivete itself now to believe that God talks to me and that it is His words I write down, but I am much more aware of the hardships people face in life, more aware of the injustice, cruelty, stupidity that I simply didn't believe in before. Not that I didn't believe it didn't happen, but I didn't believe how much. I used to think that everything was supposed to be ideal, that ideal was the standard. I thought everyone wanted to be good and cared about goodness.
Until fairly recently, when I heard of a teacher or a government official lying, cheating, bullying or doing something wrong and stupid, I thought it was unusual and unexpected. I thought everyone would think it was terrible. I thought everyone would be shocked and protest if they knew. I thought everyone thought wrongs should be righted.
I didn't know that personal gain in the world was such a motivator. I didn't grasp how important money was to so many. I knew that money mattered. But I didn't know it was all-important, that no matter how much money some people had, they would gain it or keep it any way they could. I used to think that everything was supposed to be ideal and that ideal was the standard. I thought everyone wanted to be good and cared about goodness. Now I don't think so. Do you see how cynical I have become?
The plus side of my recent cynicism is that I am now also more aware of all my good fortune. I know myself better, and I am more grateful now for my life and myself as I am.
I am more forgetful. God said it doesn't matter what we forget. What matters is what we remember, and that we remember Him. Still, I go the refrigerator and don't know why etc.
My taste in colors has changed, even radically.
Color is enormously important to me. I couldn't live without color. I worry that if I ever had to spend time in prison, I would die from color deprivation.
For years and years, pink was my favorite color, most particularly hot pink. Then I had quite a few years when lavender and violet were. But neither pink nor lavender are my favorite colors any more.
To my surprise, orange is! I am mad for orange. I bought some knives and forks with orange handles at the Bargain Box. I even have some orange shoes!
After some years since I wrote about orange as my favorite color, yellow has come to the fore. A nice lemon yellow is my favorite color.
Below you will read how there is more love in my life. It pops up around almost every corner. When it comes to my own heart of love, however, I feel more distant or muted, like my love has grayed. I used to love deeply or think I did, and now it may be I love less and/or know less what love is. Except for my love of God which keeps on growing, I don't love more. Perhaps I love differently, but I don't know that. It may be I am more neutral, but I don't know that either. Yet my heart feels full, but I don't even know what that means.
Regardless of what hasn't changed or what unexpected changes have come, life is good!
Dreams Come True
Here are some of the changes that I think can be counted on:
Life is nicer. It goes more smoothly. There is more love in it. No matter what city I happen to be in, in the supermarket or bank or in the street, there are more smiles. I think everything in my life is easier. Not perfect, but easier.
I receive so many uplifting emails, incredible emails, emails to die for. I am astounded and humbled, and I can hardly believe it. How can there be so much love, and how can it be that I get to see it. In comparison, my life before Heavenletters™ seemed like a desert. I don't think I ever knew there was so much wonderfulness in the world or that I could ever come across so much of it.
The people I meet are smarter - brilliant. Even people I've known for a long time - they have become so bright that it takes my breath away. They have turned into geniuses and heroes over night! Yes, in listening to God's words – something rubs off.
God in Heavenletters talks often of letting go of the past and grudges and all the old thinking that holds us back. I have discovered that letting go feels awfully good. Sometimes I can deliberately do it with grace. Once in a while I notice after the fact that I have let go. In any case, when I can do it, letting go is a pleasure. Hmmm, I wonder whether growth can come only when something has been let go of.
Self-image has to change. God won't have it any other way. I am bolder and stronger. I used to be the most timid person in the world. Now I take down God's words and send them out every day. That takes courage! God and Godwriting have emboldened me. This may sound corny, but there are things I do for God that I couldn't or wouldn't do for myself. Not in a million years. Godwriting isn't for wimps; at least, you can't stay one for long.
When I was a little girl, I read a book called Plucky Little Patsy, and I wanted to be Patsy. I wanted to have spunk, but, in real life, I hung in the background. I longed to be invisible, and I hid a lot even while I also yearned to be Patsy. It took a lot of years, but, finally, at last, I am Plucky Little Patsy!
Now I have work to do, and it's God's, and I can't stay shy. Sometimes I'm even like a hawker. I invite people to Heavenletters, Heavenletter readings, and Godwriting workshops right and left. I invite rejection all over the place! Even though rejection is still hard for me.
I never said Bless you or God bless you to anyone before (unless they sneezed). People who did were suspect, and I certainly would be too embarrassed to. Sometimes I am embarrassed now, but I do it anyway. I don't overdo, but if I want to say God bless you, or sign off an email with Blessings, I do.
Part of being bolder is that I am more honest. I speak up more. I express my feelings more. I am not so apologetic about what I feel. With children I never had difficulty in saying what I thought, but with adults I was hardly ever truthful. I said nothing or limited myself to what I thought might be well-received.
I have made a great discovery. It is: pure honesty works. It's a wonderful technique. It's magic. It could be the solution to all the woes of the world.
Sometimes now I even say no without thinking about it!
I leap up in the morning (most of the time). I never used to get up early except under duress. I certainly didn't get up early to do my own writing. I never worked for myself seven days a week twelve hours a day (or more) either. I always gave myself to whatever I did, but not this much. I am grateful that I have something grand to get up for in the morning. I am eager for my whole day.
The ease of Godwriting™ seems to carry-over into my own writing. Godwriting usually flows, sometimes faster and more inescapably than other times, sometimes slower. In contrast, my own writing was always labored. I would revise and revise for hours and weeks and then maybe throw the whole thing away.
After I was into the swing of Godwriting, at some point I noticed, "Hey, my own writing is just coming out by itself too". With exceptions.
Writing an ad or a query letter takes me forever. But for the most part, my own writing flows more and comes out right or almost right the first time around. Definitely much easier. That didn't happen immediately, but it did happen.
By and large, I have much more energy, more determination and follow-through.
I am less selfish. At least when I think of some of my selfishness in the past, I can hardly believe how selfish I was. I am mortified to think of how selfish I have been. Hmmm, unfortunately, I can't think of anything unselfish I've done recently.
One of the big things now is how much less upset by things I am than I used to be. By far. ***There are also far fewer things in my life for me to be upset about! *** Let's put stars around this one and blow some horns.
This is not to say that I don't ever get ruffled, miffed, annoyed, irked, angry, disappointed, hurt, rejected, dejected, distraught, agitated, anxious, fit to be tied, fed up, sad, unhappy, depressed, judgmental - have I left anything out? I still get hit with things sometimes, but I estimate that all the negative emotions have been cut 80% in incidence and degree.
I am more grateful. Even when something in me or life cuts off my peace and my sense of God, I realize how much of my life used to be major drama. Now it's not. So now I am grateful for a little disturbance and the awareness it brings.
Needless to say, God looms large in My life. From out of nowhere, He's taken over. I am consumed with His presence. I am in love.
I am still a mixed bag, but the mix is different.
I suspect I am just like you.
What changes have you noticed since you have been reading Heavenletters™ or doing your own Godwriting™?
Dear Readers, this early childhood piece makes very clear that there was nothing in my early childhood that pointed to Godwriting or spirituality. Nothing I could see in any case. If you see anything, please let me know!
But this absence of foreshadowing emphasizes, once again, that anyone can Godwrite. There are no prerequisites, and there are no contra-indications. Whatever one’s life has been up to now, they can Godwrite. There are no exceptions.
In writing this quick run-down of my early childhood, I discovered some things about myself that I had had no idea of. I had never thought that being born Jewish was much of a factor in my life, yet, in writing this, I see that it was huge. I see I could hardly get off the subject!
In looking back, how haphazard everything in my childhood was. Or was it? From everything I can see now, I led my life blindly. Or did I?
In writing this short piece, I discovered that I led several lives – two, three, four, five! – and I was not quite at home in any of them.
Was your life filled with so much contradiction as well? Perhaps you will tell me about your early life too.
Now I begin:
I was the youngest of five children. I had one brother who was twenty-three years older than I. My father was a butcher. My mother worked in the grocery store with my father. My parents worked long long hard hours.
My father had come to this country from Russia when he was eighteen to avoid pogroms and conscription into the Russian army. That’s my recollection of the story anyway. His first night in America, he slept on a cousin’s porch and cried. He found his way around by marking X’s on sidewalks with a stone. He got a job at a wholesale meat plant, cutting the fat off meat.
He went to night school one evening. The teacher immediately promoted him to the second grade. My father was so afraid he could not live up to the teacher’s evaluation that he never went back.
My father thought he would like to have been a lawyer, maybe even a judge. He thought those were the highest things anyone could be. But in those days people earned a living and didn’t think much about what they would rather do.
My mother came over to this country from Vilna, Poland, which was Russia at the time, by herself when she was twelve. She had had no childhood. Her father had died soon after she was born, leaving her mother with daughters, my mother the seventh and youngest. When my mother was four years old, she took care of other children and washed clothes in the river to earn a penny. When she was seven or eight, she went to work for a cousin who had a bakery. That meant that my mother lived at the bakery, got up before 3 a.m. to start the fire for the oven and to later deliver the bread in the dark.
One morning she found a 100-ruble note in the street. Her mother announced this in the synagogue. The story goes that the man who had lost it said, for her honesty, my mother could keep it, and that’s how my mother had the fare to come to this country.
When my mother got here, she put her hair up and passed for sixteen and got a job in a cigar factory for $2.00 a week. When she was really sixteen, she married a rabbi’s son and had my brother Bennie and my sister Sylvia.
While she was still married, she met my father and they fell in love. My brother Sid, seven years older than I, was hatched and then my sister Eleanor, five years older, and then me.
My mother went back to work at the store when I was two weeks old. I was the only child my mother did not nurse. Not to take it personally, my mother didn’t want another child. I grew up with a bedtime story about how my father saw my mother taking money out of the cash register, how he was suspicious, followed her to a doctor’s office and stopped her from having an abortion. I was told this story over and over again the same way a child is told the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. And each time I heard it, I held my breath to see how it turned out.
Someone named Mamie first took care of me. Then someone named Martha. And then Margaret until I was seven. Interesting that their names all began with the same sound as Mother.
When my mother and father would come home from the store at seven at night on weekdays, (midnight on Saturdays after delivering orders) my mother would cook and my father would spend time with me. It was an adoring time with my father, while my mother cooked wonderful Jewish food. This was in contrast to the white Wonder bread and Campbell’s tomato soup that Margaret gave us.
When I was seven, Margaret left. There was no one at home to take care of me. No one sent me off to school. (My mother would wake me up before three in the morning to give me cocoa and toast before she went off to work, and I would go back to sleep.) No one was home to greet me when I came back from school. No one told me when to get up or what to do. No one told me what to wear or not to wear. When someone invited me to their birthday party, I went to the drug store by myself to buy something. I didn’t know how to wrap presents.
No one told me to do my homework or to do anything. When I became a schoolteacher, I was surprised when I saw how parents made their children do homework. No matter how alone or lonely, I was spared having an adult hover over me, and I had the freedom to get to know who I was. But, of course, I thought I always wanted to be like everyone else.
My mother said we were the first Jewish family to move to Longmeadow, Massachusetts.
I was born in the upstairs hall at 123 Colton Place. My parents spoke Yiddish, but there was no religious observance. Actually, religion was made fun of in my house.
In whatever way a child knows these things, I knew to be embarrassed that we were Jewish, even of course not having any idea of what Jewish was.
When the children at school would ask me, as they asked everyone in the class, what are you giving up for Lent, I would mumble that I didn’t know yet.
I didn’t know what Jewish holidays were, and I sure didn’t know to stay home on one. There was some ridiculing of Jewish holidays and me, and I remember rushing home from school to get away from it.
But I did know about Christmas, for it was celebrated in schools. Chanukah was not, but I doubt that I would have felt more a part of Chanukah than I did Christmas. I did not belong with either.
On Christmas Eve my mother and father worked extra late delivering orders.
When Margaret was still with us – Margaret came to us when she was sixteen because her family could not afford to feed her – she got room and board and 50 cents a week – she stayed with us until I was seven. Sometimes she put a handkerchief over my head and took me to the Catholic Church with her.
Christmas Eves we took the bus over to her house. Christmas was a big event for Margaret’s family. As poor as they were, they would have a gift for me. Once there was an unboxed present wrapped in paper, and they asked me if I knew what it was. From spending time in my father’s grocery store and being very familiar with everything sold there, I thought it was a chicken! But, of course, it was a doll! One year Margaret’s family gave me a book. They knew how much I loved books. I can feel now how my heart and eyes lit up.
When I was seven, Margaret moved on, and I spent Christmas Eves alone. One year a neighbor heard that I was alone and came to my door and insisted I come over to their house. I remember their sweet kindness, but, of course, as kind as they were, and also because they were so kind, I felt very apart. This sense of being on the outside haunted me most of my life.
Another noteworthy memory is of my going up to the attic and unrolling and rolling this poster of what my mother said was a baby picture of my brother Bennie. There was a beautiful star shining on him. My mother exaggerated a lot, and I knew to take whatever she said with a grain of salt. But I never knew for sure if that was my brother in the picture. Now I am sure it was a picture of Baby Jesus. My mother would only have kept it because it reminded her of my brother Bennie. How she ever possessed the poster in the first place, I have no idea.
My brother Bennie was an angel to me. Not himself a happy man, he was always happy to make others happy. One day he brought me a puppy! He would take me with him when he delivered eggs or picked them up from farms. When I was in high school and college, he would drop off flowers and the New York Sunday Times early on Sunday mornings while I still slept, and I would find them when I woke up late.
My sister Sylvia was already married when I was born. She was the opposite of Bennie, seemingly unaware of others’ feelings.
My brother Sid was always good to me, but not responsible for me.
My sister Eleanor, who was five years older, was demeaning of me. This was made harder because there was no one to tell her no. It was never easy back and forth with Eleanor and me, and yet, in childhood, she taught me the alphabet and how to count, and, in adult years, when I was in need, she was invariably there.
Thank goodness for school.Looking back, I can’t say I loved it, but I can’t imagine what I would have done without it. I do know I went to school eagerly.
Schools were quite strict then and not primarily loving places, but I had a second grade teacher, Miss Bancroft, who loved me. On my seventh birthday, she held me on her lap. She was a bleached blond, which was a horrific thing in those days. She only taught at my elementary school the one year I had her. She married the following summer and moved to New Hampshire. Her name became Mrs. Ballard. Our third grade class wrote to her the next year, and she wrote back and she said that my handwriting was the best of all.
I loved stories and compositions and art and did well in school, but I was not lit up by it. I do remember learning about metaphors and similes in eighth grade and feeling a recognition of something wonderful. Perhaps this was a precursor – or memory – of the beautiful imagery God was later to give in Heavenletters.
In so many ways I led a double life:
Yiddish at home, English at school.
Smart at school, but dumb at home.
Jewish, but not Jewish anywhere but in name. Lived in a very Gentile neighborhood where I was an oddity. But in the neighborhood in Springfield a few miles away where my married sister lived, it was backwards. Everyone was Jewish. It was odd if you weren’t Jewish. I went back and forth into both worlds.
Never went to synagogue, but did go to church once in a while.
As mentioned before, I ate hearty Jewish food – wonderful rye and pumpernickel breads made unlike any today and amazing Jewish foods that my mother spent hours cooking from scratch with all the love in her heart on Sundays. During the week, I filled up on Campbell’s Tomato Soup and peanut butter sandwiches made with white spongy Wonder bread.
We were poor but lived in a well-to-do town.
Margaret, the young girl who took care of us until I was seven and who took me home with her, lived in a neighborhood so visibly poor you would think there was a sign that said so. To Margaret’s family and the children I played with there, I was a rich girl. After all, my father had a black Buick.
And, I suppose, when you come down to it, all of us lead two lives, Earthly and Divine.
Thank you for coming to this web site and reading my story. I would love to hear from you.