A letter to a friend

Anthony W. Brooks

I know it seems strange to write to you now. It has been so long and we’ve both changed in so many ways. It seems so unfathomable that I would decide to write this at such a redundant time in our lives, but I need to unpack my thoughts on someone. I can’t go to my wife about these things. She’s so busy with all of my mistakes that these things would seem so questionable and isolated from her; otherwise, why would I burden her with my uncertainty? I can’t go to my parents because they have put up with my childish emotions for my extensive, yet brief, adolescent years. I don’t want to go to my pastor; mostly because he is preoccupied with other such burdensome oppressions in the lives of dozens of others. So I come to you, the musketeer of my misspent youth. Because there was a time where you and I bore the philosophical uncertainty of the expanse of unseen and unheard of futures that stretched before us after our conversions into manhood. We would answer, sometimes with too much optimism, the questions of success and failures that berated us in the silence of growing older. So I hope you read this and understand why I chose you to unburden my conscience.

Recently I’ve been taking an inventory of my thoughts, concerns, and prayers. The only conclusion I’ve drawn is that there is only a benign pessimism in everything I think and pray. Ever since I entered adulthood and took the mantle of responsibility every thought and prayer has been riddled with anxiety. It seems that there is no escape, as if I have entered a circle of Hell that requires nothing but anxious trifles as my penance. That one day if I worry just enough I can graduate to a purgatory of selfish ease, only to feel guilty for having exactly what I need and maybe a little more. So I don’t wish to leave this place because the result might be more unbearable and guilt ridden. I don’t know if this is normal, but it sure doesn’t feel that way.

I feel guilty for thinking this but I found myself praying for an actual hardship to befall my plight, so that my guilty conscience could be subsided by an actual burden worth feeling anxious about. Is this good? What is good? A good car is one that doesn’t break down once a month. A good wife is one that doesn’t cheat on me once in a while. A good ship is one that doesn’t sink every seventh time I cross the sea. But I am not good. My spirit breaks every time my wife brings up the budget… As if there aren’t more worrisome things to break over.

My friend. You aren’t of the normal quality that I’ve come to experience in my short lived existence. In all things we are opposites. I am full of worry while you are full of stalwart surety. I am a picky malcontent while you seem content in everything. Next to me you resemble Athanasius contra mundum sure and steady in your war against society. This is why I write to you. You’ve always had the words. The words that I can’t find. But I beg you. Don’t see me as a man struggling for meaning. You know that I see meaning in all of these doubts. The one thing I am certain of is faith. Faith that God, in his pleasant and unsearchable immutability, has a decree for my life. I can’t change his plans, nor do I want to. So whatever you respond, this is what I see as sure and immutable.

Forever in your debt,


Soli Deo Gloria!

Published by A.W. Brooks

I am a husband, father, student, and classical Protestant Christian. My thoughts hold no authority, but they might help you shape the way you see the world. Who knows?

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