The Return of Sarah Ryan

So it has finally appeared. In a previous blog post I wrote on the confrontation between John Wesley’s wife and a woman by the name of Sarah Ryan. Sarah Ryan was believed to be a woman that John was enamored with, at least that is what his wife grew to believe. In this altercation John’s wife bursts into the room in which Sarah Ryan is serving dinner to John and his guests. John’s wife then proceeds to ridicule and judge Sarah Ryan, her lifestyle, and her history of men. The problem with that past post was that there was no actual account or backlash to this point. What I was writing on at this point was based on biographies and not on the actual written work of John Wesley. Well readers, this is no longer so, because in today’s reading I read several letters written by John Wesley to the woman Sarah Ryan. More importantly there is a letter that is written shortly after the incident between John’s wife and Sarah Ryan.

John’s letter that followed the incident reads as such: “Last Friday, after many severe words, my —— left me, vowing she would see me no more. As I had wrote to you the same morning, I began to reason with myself, till I almost doubted whether I had done well in writing, or whether I ought to write to you at all. After prayer that doubt was taken away. Yet I was almost sorry that I had written that morning. In the evening, while I was preaching at the chapel, she came into the chamber where I had left my clothes, searched my pockets, and found the letter there, which I had finished, but had not sealed. While she read it, God broke her heart; and afterwards found her in such a temper as I have not seen her in for several years. She has continued in the same ever since. So I think God has given a sufficient answer, with regard to our writing to each other.” John will later conclude the letter with questions that deal with how Sarah’s life is going, not as one that is too much of a spiritual nature but more of a general interest.

I find that this letter adds so much more to the story of Sarah Ryan and John Wesley. All of this will make an appearance in the show because Sarah Ryan was deeply important to the person of John Wesley. She is one of a handful of women that John wrote to on a regular basis and he often wrote about how she had renewed his strength in God. I would like to show more about Sarah Ryan than just her altercation with John’s wife. I desire to write about more of how Sarah renewed John’s strength, but I also realize the power that lies in the scene with the altercation. I am extremely grateful for John Wesley writing more about this event. It should be interesting to see what happens as I take this letter, other similar letters, and research I have gotten from the biographies to write the scene, or scenes, for the show. Stay tuned to see what happens in the future with John Wesley and Sarah Ryan when their characters are portrayed on stage.


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