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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Writing a Letter (handwritten correspondence) (10/21/10)

TITLE: I am not you
By Tim Pickl


Dear Dad,

I am writing you this letter—no, scratch that—I am handwriting you this letter because I felt sending you a TXT message was way too short, and TXT messages are filled with way “2” many ANNOYING abbreviations.

I thought about sending an e-mail—it would contain the same words—but an e-mail is way too cold, way too impersonal.

So, I’m handwriting this using an old ink pen and crisp paper. It seems so “analog”: but it’s forcing me to think everything through before I write it down because I don’t have a Delete key.

I truly need you to hear me out.

Growing up under your authority was tough. Oftentimes your cold, rigid German way of telling me what to do made me hate you sometimes. This is hard, because I don’t want to hurt you; but your style of parenting was more like a TXT message or an e-mail: Sometimes it was just an instant order to do something; but it was always cold and impersonal—very much “hands off”—just like an e-mail.

There isn’t much love between us.

See, I would try to tell you—no, scratch that—convey this message to you in person, but the wall between us is just too high and too thick. You would never let me tell you what’s in my heart. I know we had a huge fight last Christmas, and we haven’t really talked about it since. Sure, we go through the motions of our cold greetings when you and mom ask me to stop by for dinner; and we talk about every inane thing under the sun, including the weather, but we really never cut to the heart of what’s going on between us.

I need to ask you something.

Just to tell you straight: I chose to not go to the University you went to and relive your life and your dream; rather, I chose to go to Bible College; and here I am, working day and night 40 hours a week at a job and taking on as many courses as I can fit in, pursuing my Master’s degree, working for my Master—Jesus Christ.

I’m sorry if that was a run-on sentence, but I have to write as fast as my cramping hand will allow.

Last Christmas when we had our fight I was extremely upset. Did you even notice? As you yelled at me in front of the entire family, I felt like I was 8 or 9 or 10 again, getting yelled at for not getting all A’s in school. So, I did what I always did back then, I just stopped talking and let you yell at me. I never had a chance to “get a word in edgewise”. In the end, it was just another typical stressed-out Christmas dinner for our family.

What were you thinking as you sat there afterwards, drinking your beer, watching football? At that moment, I just rolled my eyes, shook my head and went to my room—more determined than ever to pursue God’s will in my life. Crying, I prayed myself to sleep.

Flash forward nine months to the present time: Now I am living far away and no longer under the iron hand of your authority. While the freedom is some sense is sweet, it comes with a heavy responsibility. Now I have to support myself to pursue my dream; but one thing keeps presenting itself in my mind every day, especially as I prepare sermons for class, or attend church services on campus.

I need to ask you: Can you please forgive me?

See, I could never ask you in person. In person, the words just wouldn’t come out. Even if I tried, you would throw up your hand and wave it off with “I don’t want to hear it!” And, if I started to cry, you would say something like, “We don’t cry, we are STRONG German men. Crying is for the weak.”

No Dad, my crying for you now is from a Holy Spirit-filled heart of compassion.

Oftentimes, I weep in prayer for you and our family: I want you to see The Truth in God’s Word.

I know you Dad: you are about to crumble up this letter into a ball and toss it away, just like you toss my love away.

Please forgive me.

Please accept my love for you.

Please finally accept me for who I am.

I am not you.

God’s Love,


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This article has been read 623 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lollie Hofer10/29/10
This was such a sad, heart-wrenching letter. You caputured the pain of the letter writer quite well. I could especially relate since I had one of those dads too. I like how the letter progressed to asking for forgiveness. It showed the workings of the Holy Spirit in this man's heart.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/30/10
This is such a touching and honest letter. I applaud you and those that can stand up for their belief.
Jan Ackerson 11/01/10
Well-written and touching.

Until the very last few sentences, this struck me as not a person who's looking for forgiveness, but a person who's looking for an apology.

This is very real and thought-provoking.
Nancy Sullivan 11/09/10
"Crying, I prayed myself to sleep". I love that. Usually, it would be "Praying, I cried myself to sleep."
I like your way better! Great job.