Dearest Adele,

Thank you so much for the care package I received today. My nephew has just set me up with a new “boombox” I believe they call it, so I’m all set to listen to that “25” CD (he had to explain to me that your album titles correspond to your various ages at the time of recording — what a darling idea!). I also loved the photo of you and little Angelo motorboating in Utah — I can’t believe how much he’s grown.

Now, on to a few points from your previous letter.

First of all, no, no, of course not, I do not look down on you for your breakup with Simon. While I myself have never been married, I have learned enough about it from the pastoral sofa to realize that there are a million ways that two frail sinners, raised imperfectly by sinners, can experience a fractured relationship. Yes, in my business, I earnestly intercede for couples to slice into that 50th anniversary cake together, but I’m never caught off-guard when it doesn’t happen. My prayers are for you, Simon, and Angelo to experience as much of God’s healing balm as possible in a terribly painful time.

Second, and I don’t mean to sound overbearing here, but I don’t want you to confuse your press releases (Adele is “happy, healthy and eager to continue to better herself”) with the true and current state of your soul. Regardless of what you tell your fans, your heart has been through a car wreck, and it is going to need a while to rehabilitate, and that is just fine. Yes, I hear you say that “learning to REALLY truly love yourself” is the thing. Still, “loving yourself” can be a notoriously unfulfilling game. Truthfully, most of us will fall in and out of love with ourselves constantly.

If I could, I would hold your hand and repeat over and over again (until you truly believed me) that there is something much better than loving yourself. It is realizing that you are loved, loved truly, and there is not a dang thing you can do about it (pardon my French!). If I might be so impertinent, Jesus loved you when you were growing up the working-class child of a single mom in Tottenham, and he loved you when you won your first Grammy, and he loved you when your weight went up and down and up again (do forgive an old man for speaking this way!), and he loved you when you said excitedly said “I do” and when you sadly said “I don’t.” Remember, dear one, when Jesus looks at you, he always says “I do.”

Well, I’ve droned on a little too long, haven’t I? It is truly an occupational hazard (Ha!). I want you to know that I plan to drive to a record store and buy “30” the day it comes out this fall. If I can only find a record store.