Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Letters To God

Back in April, a movie came out called Letters To God. In the movie, a boy with cancer writes, well, letters to God. People crack open the letters and heartwarminess and sappiness ensues. The Christian community liked it; everybody else wanted that hour-fifty of their lives back. The movie failed to recoup its $3 million budget.

In the movie, the letters are opened by a substitute postal worker in town. In real life, letters to God often have a different fate.

God, as one would tell you, has no Earthly address. That's a bit of a problem for post offices, who can only deliver to Earthly addresses. Letters to God, therefore, end up at the dead-letter office.

In Jerusalem.

Post offices worldwide, while they can't deliver to God, figure that Jerusalem is the place one is most likely to find him, at least according to the Jerusalem postmaster back in 1990. The fact that many letters to God explicitly carry an address including Jerusalem in it helps that belief along. So unless you've addressed it to some other city (or haven't included an address at all), your letter to God will go to Jerusalem. Some go a little nuts with the addressing, but 'To God, Jerusalem' is enough to obligate the letter to be sent as per international law.

Once there, letters are generally bound for cracks in the Western Wall. The vast majority of the letters are from Christians- not all, they do get some Jewish letters and even a Muslim letter in 2008- however, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem's holiest Christian site, does not receive them. Only letters with the Church's address go to that church. The Western Wall has an address as well, but really about half of one. Just 'Western Wall Plaza'. It's enough of a non-address to get the God letters.

Letters to Jesus or Moses or the Holy Ghost don't get delivered. The Chief Rabbi of the Western Wall only permits the letters for God.

Of course, they do get opened and read, and all manner of people write. Some letters are heartwarming, some heartrending, some are political, and then there are those who just want lottery numbers or want to get- or be reincarnated as- hot dates.

How would that movie have looked with those kind of letters?

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