I recently discovered that there is an “Other” tab on my Facebook message page. It sits in the upper left hand corner right next to the bolded tab that reads: Inbox. Who knew, right? Between my author account and my personal account, there were over two hundred emails in my “Other” file. I started wading through them, one-by-one, deleting the announcements of events already gone by and the advertisements. I get the feeling the “Other” tab is similar to a “Spam” folder on yahoo.
The remaining twenty-three emails were very personal and I felt terrible that some of them had been sitting in this “Other” file for well over a year. These people must have felt that they poured out their heart to a stranger who didn’t even care enough to acknowledge them. I am so sorry for this oversight.
If any of you are reading this blog, please know that my tardy response was caused by ignorance and not an intentional disregard for your feelings.
I want to share a small portion of one of the emails from my "Other" file because it touched me.
Dear Author S.R.Claridge, I’ve read House of Lies and I can’t stop thinking about you and the story you wrote. I’ve come out of a cult group and am still haunted by everything I saw and experienced while there. When I close my eyes to sleep at night, I still see the demons and hear their chanting. I can hardly pray without unconsciously swaying back and forth and slipping into a dark place. Sometimes the fear takes hold of me to the point that I can’t move in my bed and it feels like its pushing me down deeper into bed. I can’t tell anyone because they’ll all say I told you so, or think I’m going crazy, but I know after reading your book that you understand. I know you’ve seen it and that you know what’s happening. I was at [cult group name deleted] for almost 14 months and I saw the deception you wrote about. It’s real and I’m praying for you because I know you’ve been attacked by the demons too and I know they’re after you.
This letter sat in my “Other” file since November 2012. I responded to it today and am hoping my response isn’t too late. This woman was reaching for help, and I wasn’t there. This woman was desperate to find someone who understood her, and I was absent. Though I am a stranger to her, this woman needed me, and I wasn’t paying attention. I’m praying for her and hoping she writes back to tell me that she has found freedom and is no longer tormented by her involvement with this cult group.
If I have missed any other letters….if I have failed to respond to you…please write to me again. My lack of response is not intentional. If I have ignored you, it is because I have not seen your letter, so please re-send it. I will never ignore a heartfelt outpouring nor a stranger’s plea for help.