I Wrote the Devil a Letter

[Estimated reading time: 7m42s]

Dearest Devil,

I’m writing you for many reasons. Among them is the plight in which I still find myself. I’m in dire need of your help. I’ve been faithful to attend your daily D.A. meetings throughout my city and I’m grateful for the exquisite generosity with which you serve my community. Your donations and selfless sacrifice to every one of our “Dreamers Anonymous” groups have not gone unnoticed. Thank You.

I’m embarrassed to ask your help yet again. It’s just that this pesky holy spirit won’t leave me alone. I’ve tried telling him over and over to go away, yet he continues to annoy me. I’ve tried just about everything and I’m finally at my mind’s end…would you help?

I explained to him what you said about my “dreaming” disease. I told him about how dangerous and contagious it is, but he still wouldn’t relent. I tried describing the origins of my unhealthy addiction and how good it has been for me to learn from you all the different ways in which I can cope. I quoted to him the confession we make in every D.A. meeting from your brochure, “Dreams are my Disease and Vision is my Virus.” I tried explaining how every morning, you’ve been loyal and faithful to remind me as soon as I wake up that I can make it through the day without the terrifying sting of imagining a world which is different from the one in which we live. I try to remember throughout the day that things are as dissatisfying as they are and by your grace, Kind Lucifer, they can stay that way.

Once again, holy spirit hinted at that book I wrote about him back in August. I told him what you told me: “No one wants to publish a book written by a kid with no major platform in the Christian world.” I reminded him how the illusion of success within my Christian bubble only sticks around when painted with manipulative materials. I reminded that annoying holy spirit how nothing gets done in Western Christendom without one manipulating the rapport he/she has with close friends in order to coerce them into supporting my claims to fame (what is it you called it, “ministry”? Forgive me, I’m still learning). When he wouldn’t shut up about it and told me it might actually help other folks who grew up in Christian households and found themselves ready to leave Christianity behind, I tried that trick you taught me about my age. I must’ve executed the maneuver poorly. 

If I remember correctly, you said the best way to currently avoid any legitimate attempt at realizing one’s “god-given dreams” is to tell the holy spirit I’m too young. Since I’m barely 22, I thought that excuse would work well. And when I get to be older, I can avoid his plea to dream by telling him I’m too old. “Usefulness in the kingdom of god is for the young kids who have the energy,” wasn’t that what you told Frank last week in D.A. when he couldn’t seem to stop imagining a bed and breakfast that employs single mothers? When he wouldn’t give up, constantly trying to inspire me to write/create beautiful art, I tried telling him what you told me about how “art is simply the most successful trick one can use to manipulate others into not noticing you’re selling them your desire to get famous.” He didn’t seem to believe me.

Instead, that pesky holy spirit went on and on about the dreams he has for me and my friends. You’re probably right about him…he must be the saddest, sickest person out of all of us. I tried telling him what you told me about marriage and relationships. I explained your theory about how as a man, I’m only validated and worthwhile when someone others consider beautiful pays attention to me. He retorted with some mumbo-jumbo about love and mutual respect and the strength he distinctly placed in the feminine heart. I’m sorry, Dearest Devil…I’m still struggling with this part. I’m rather weak when it comes to this area….part of me still believes him…part of me still wonders if it’s true that god created women to remind all of us men that he is more than just utility, that he is beautiful and that his feminine characteristics are no weaker than his masculine ones. Of course, I’m speaking gibberish here. You’re probably right about all this…I should probably stick to objectifying women and letting my fear of their strength be embodied by my ability to manipulate them. What was it you said about my familiarity with christianese? That they’d fall for it as often as I tried hard enough? I told holy spirit that but he keeps reminding me of all the feminine hearts I’ve met who inspire me to stop hiding behind my misogyny. Please don’t kick me out of D.A. for saying this, but, could it be that he’s right? Could it be that a world run by men poses no threat to your kingdom whatsoever?

I tried arguing with holy spirit but he brought up a good point about you. I wasn’t sure what to say so I’m hoping you’ll address this issue in your letter back to me. I told him how men were only real men when they could dominate women. I brought up that point you made about how women’s beauty, their warmth, and their ability to make foreign places feel like home was just their manipulative trick to overturning men and running the world on their own without us. I told him what you told me, that the world is better off when it’s run by men only. That’s when he said what prompted me to write you immediately. He pointed out that you didn’t show up in the garden of Eden until Eve did. 

Why is that? Why didn’t you attack humanity earlier? Please answer me, Beloved Serpent, as to why you felt so threatened by the presence of a woman that you attacked once you saw her in the garden? Was it her capacity to bring forth new life that may have scared you? Why wait until then? If women are really as weak as you say they are every time you write another script for another porno, why’d you jump into attack-mode when Eve showed up? We watch your videos every day in “Dreamer’s Anonymous.” They really are rather effective at getting us to feel disillusioned with the idea of beauty and intimacy. But I’m torn, Dearest Devil, as to why you didn’t attack humanity until the woman showed up? Why was she so threatening to you?

I had no response for holy spirit. I felt stumped. Could he be right? Could women actually be strong, necessary, and beautiful reminders of god’s vulnerable heart? Could it be that all of us in D.A. have mistakenly believed they exist for us to maneuver and manipulate? It’s making us look rather weak and I’d really appreciate it if you’d give us some advice at our next D.A. meeting.

I don’t mean to sound too needy. I’m also writing this to thank you for all you’ve done for me. Getting me to acknowledge my Dreaming for what it really is, a disease, has been such a relief. Thank you for your daily donations to D.A. You brought my favorite donuts last time and I loved the feeling of shoving that seventh raspberry-filled into my face. Those plush seats you gave us are wonderful, by the way. You’ve been so passionate as you teach day after day about how our dreams are tricks god made up to lead us on and set us up for dramatic disappointment.

I noticed after one D.A. meeting that you stuck around after everyone left to clean up all the shredded pieces of paper on which we’d all written our “god-given” dreams. How selfless of you to sweep up the ashes of our nearly successfully self-sabotaged yet persistent desires to “make the world a better place.” Thank you Devil. You’ve been so good to me and my friends, waking us up every morning with the exact dosage of doubt we need to overcome our disease of “Dreaming.” The Virus that is Vision will someday find a cure because of your unselfish hours of dedication and sacrifice for the cause. Perhaps my kids will be lucky enough to live their entire lives in the apathy and indifference you have inspired me to reach for. I’m almost tearing up thinking about it…I’m so grateful. Because of you, Sweet Satan, I get to settle for some woman I successfully control and manipulate someday. After years of sexual frustration due to the erectile dysfunction you so faithfully induce with your Daily D.A. pornos, we’ll have some kids. Thanks to your tireless efforts, it’s becoming a reality that my kids just might be able to spend their entire lives in our church without ever imagining what it would be like to actually enjoy the Christian life. I’m getting excited just thinking about it! They’ll never go through what I did. They’ll never sit in the back row of their dad’s church, praying and wishing that a legitimate relationship with the holy spirit is possible. What a relief!

Like you’ve so kindly taught, it’ll hopefully be possible for our whole family to go through the routine of religious chores, serving god out of shame, and playing religious games in order to garner attention from other church goers. Sure, that’s been the case for me…but I’ve had to tolerate this constant badgering from holy spirit about the possibility of operating out of an authentic, refreshing and consistent romance with jesus. Doesn’t he know I’ve got a status quo to  which I must reduce myself? Doesn’t holy spirit know I’ve got bitter, ignorant and uninformed statuses to write and passive-aggressive complaints to tweet? How come holy spirit doesn’t understand that he only adds to my to-do list when he inspires me to dream bigger, to imagine the body of christ working together and loving each other? Doesn’t he know of all the older men and women in christian leadership for whom I have to develop cynical anecdotes? Doesn’t he know of all the younger men and women in christendom for whom I have to deliver soul-crushing “realities”? He doesn’t seem to know when to stop.

If you’ll be kind enough to continue teaching at D.A. every day, I’m sure we can win this fight against holy spirit together. With your continued loyalty and help, I believe I can be cured of my disease of Dreaming. Please don’t give up on me yet, Dearest Devil. I still need your help. Holy spirit still adamantly suggests my dreams can come true, and I’m scared that if you don’t remind me of all the reasons why god is not good, I just might start believing him. 


Arvin Sepehr

Sold for Hope