Mrs May is not the only person who is writing this week to Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council. Here is the letter I have sent. I don't have a personal courier to deliver it by hand, as she does. Nevertheless I hope he will have received it by email and will be interested, even glad, to hear a different voice coming out of the United Kingdom as the Prime Minister triggers Article 50.
Dear Mr Tusk
You will be receiving a long-awaited letter from the UK Prime Minister this week. In it she will be giving formal notice that our nation intends to leave the European Union.
I did not want to let this week pass without writing to you myself. This is a purely personal letter of course. But I know that millions of British citizens will be feeling the same way as we head inexorably towards the door marked Brexit.
It will not be news to you that those of us who voted Remain in last year's Referendum are very sad that events have come to this point. That is putting it mildly. We believe as firm Europeans that the UK's proper place in the world is to be a committed EU member state. We think that the EU has been all the better for Britain's belonging to its family of nations. The UK has had so much to bring to the Union, and so much to gain from it in return. We have seen relationships across the EU grow and flourish during the years we have been a member. The world's safety and wellbeing surely lies in nations collaborating together for the sake of all our peoples and of all humanity. "Ever-closer union" is a noble aspiration.
So like the many who make up "the 48%" (perhaps more now than when the vote took place?), I am utterly dismayed at the prospect of walking away from the European Union in two year's time. There is no point in rehearsing the arguments now that the decision is made. But I don't think I am alone in wanting to place on record my profound sense of disappointment as the die is cast this week. There is room to debate whether or not action under Article 50 is reversible. But I don't expect a way back to the EU be opened in my lifetime.
I also want you to know that I have deplored the self-interest that has dominated the UK's rhetoric about the European Union since David Cameron announced the Referendum. All we seemed to hear as he tried to negotiate "a reformed EU" was the endlessly-repeated phrase "what's best for Britain". There was never any question about what might be best for Europe as a whole, or how this nation could benefit the EU. When we should have been celebrating the remarkable achievements of the past sixty years and helping to build a consensus about the future not just in this continent but worldwide, the only themes that seemed to matter were the economy, trade and migrants. I could not believe that this once outward-looking nation of ours had become so insular.
It's easy to come out with a long list of "if onlys" this week. It doesn't serve much purpose to say, if only the UK had been truly committed to the European Project in the first place. If only we had thrown ourselves into the EU with enthusiasm! But maybe sharing hopes, dreams and aspirations for a kinder and better world order just isn't the British way. Perhaps the European Union will be better off without this country's historic grudging, foot-dragging attitude to its membership.
We have just celebrated the EU's 60th birthday. Our founding parents (yes, I can still say "our" for the time being) believed that only economic, social, cultural and political cooperation between nations could reconstruct our continent free of the warfare and division that plagued it for so many centuries. As a Christian, I share their belief that the quest for peace and justice comes down to loving your neighbour as yourself. This is why supra-national organisations like the European Union are so essential. There is no future for the world unless we can all commit to looking beyond our national boundaries, not just with fine words but with actions that make a difference.
The EU faces many threats at present. Brexit is just one of them. I hope that the United Kingdom will always be a good neighbour and friend to the European Union, whatever the future holds. I hope that the Brexit negotiations will be amicable and free of bitterness and rancour. I am especially thinking of citizens from EU countries outside Britain who are resident in the UK, and of British citizens living and working in EU countries abroad. You know how anxious they are in the face of an uncertain future.
You can count on us who are "the 48%" to go on trying to be good Europeans. That includes a majority of British young people. They have only ever known a Britain that is part of the EU. Many of them are very angry that their future has been stolen from them by my silver-haired generation. But I am heartened when I hear them talk about politics and the kind of society they want to belong to. They are more articulate than I was at that age. They are all for grasping hold of our destinies as peoples and nations and making a difference. I think we can trust them, one day, to look again at this monumental folly we have bequeathed them, and undo it. When that day comes, I hope the European Union can be generous enough to welcome us back.
With my best wishes and prayers,