Dear God

a woman prying

I love my God. I have since long before I was a Nun. Long before I got used to wearing a habit.

People are funny. I often get asked what it feels like to literally be married to something or someone that you’ve never seen and never will. An absent love whose naked body you have never seen, whose hands have never held yours, never touched your breasts, whose lips have never melted into yours.

What they don’t realise is that I also have seen their side of love and relationships. As a young woman, I had been in love with a young man named Ryan.

Ryan Cosgrove.

He had the appearance of a God (I know I shouldn’t say that), and the most amazing thing about him was that he had chosen me.

What age would I have been? 16? 17? I felt blessed. Even my friends didn’t understand what Ryan Cosgrove saw in me. I was just a normal girl, petite, narrow hipped, small-breasted, just like most other Japanese girls at my school.

My father often told me I took after his mother. A small woman who could disappear quietly into the background and was rarely ever heard from. My Father had come over as a boy during the 60s. He eventually met my mother who was a child of the 70s. When he walked out on the day of my third birthday, she took up Catholicism with a devotion that was all-consuming.

Happy birthday Linda Tanaka.

Dear God, you always knew about Ryan, didn’t you? You knew the reason he liked me. It was due to a trait etched into my character by my father’s culture; my Japanese servility.

I have never asked this question before, but I have often wondered, did you watch? I had heard young women talk of their “first time” as if they had just ascended to heaven. It wasn’t like that for me, was it?

You knew he would use his belt as he did. His fists as he did. You knew he would only thrust harder when I cried out in pain asking him to please stop. You knew his blows would strike at my naked skin and I would meekly accept their egregious behaviour.

I have always wanted to ask: Did you watch? Did you think I deserved it? Were you preparing me for this role? I came through with flying colours, for here I am.

I chose a spiritual relationship where the other party was absent, so I could feel safe. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

I saw your solemn work on the fields of Ethiopia where innocent children starved to death. I witnessed your greatness and the violence you smote on your brethren through a Tsunami that hit Indonesia wiping out 167,000 people. And now, here it is again in your deliverance of the current pandemic. A “corona” that sits uncomfortably on the world.

People will say it’s just the way of the world. But if I am to believe you, then I must believe you knew about all these moments or even had something to do with them. Are these “Sodom and Gomorrah” moments just happening again and again?

Approximately 900,000 people around the world, your “children” so to speak, have died from the coronavirus. How weird it is that you are married to Nuns all around the world. I look at all your children we are asked to care for. I wonder what they believe anymore.

Not doctors, not priests, not politicians, not bank managers, not teachers, not sports stars or actors, not successfully, rich people, and more and more, not God. “The meek shall inherit the earth”, you said. “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven,” you said.

God, dear God. I will always love and be servile to your wishes. It has always been my way, and always will be.

However, I often look at my young niece, Julia, and I see a zest for life in her eyes. An indestructible optimism that I hope will become its own contagion. I see unconstrained confidence in the way she approaches life. She could change the world in ways that I could never dream of. I feel a love I have never felt before when she welcomes me with a massive hug.

A hug that I never want to be released from.