Dear Anthony: I know you can’t stay.


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When it comes to writing to you, I’ve procrastinated more than with the others. I’ve thought things out, written down a line or two and then shook my head and walked away.

And that’s not new to you. People have entered your charismatic, full-faced smiling rebel world and tried to figure it out. When they failed to do so, they walked away. You know the names, the faces. The ones who wanted to mold you into the ever-so cliche, cookie-cutter Christian boy who knows just what to say and lives and dies with a heart of stone, caged in with rules and boxed-up views of God. The ones who didn’t care what was going on inside as long as you were squeaky-clean on the outside. The ones who said, “Eat and be warm,” and walked away.

Screw them.

These words flicker onto my screen every time I turn on my phone: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. The only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”-Jack Kerouac

I firmly believe you are here to stir things up a little, to live passionately, and to inspire people to be better.

I would never tell you that there is no such thing as absolute truth and to create your own truth because. . .well. . .that’s not true. But I would tell you to be yourself. I would tell you that it’s OK to be different and to ask the beautiful, all-encompassing question: why? I would tell you that it’s OK to be on a journey that is different than everyone else’s. I would tell you that it’s the little things in life that are the foundation for truly living. And lastly, I would tell you that God is bigger than fundamentalism, rough childhoods, and people who walk away–He isn’t boxed in by anything humanity dishes out. They thought they caught Him, but they didn’t. Don’t let them fog up Who He really is. Toss the rule book and see what He has to say.

Just for the record, it wasn’t freaking grape juice. akjajewejjddlk. I can’t.

It’s OK to be angry. It’s OK to hurt deeply. It’s OK to feel things–I promise. It’s OK to push back when people tell you how things are supposed to be. . .because who said?

I’ve seen my share of pretty boys with shattered potential because it’s not cool to think deeply, to feel deeply, to love deeply and openly. And I know it’s been hard for you to travel on a unique path, but I’m glad you did. Because you wouldn’t be Anthony if you went a different way. Because you’re better than conformity. On either side, on any level: do. not. conform. because. that’s. what. everyone. else. does. Mark Twain once stated, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”Let me tell you, Mark Twain is never wrong.

So that’s why I’ve named this letter to you: I know you can’t stay. Because you really can’t. As much as I’d love to go back to dancing around the house and sliding down red-clay hills–on cardboard, might I add–it’s not what’s best. I’d love to keep you in our little Christian circle where I feel you’re safe, but that’s selfish. You have to find your purpose and make the most out of your life. Even if it means you take on views that are different than mine. Even if leaving means having dark days every now and then.

Don’t stay. Push forward.

And very, very lastly: Go get ’em, broski. I’m cheering you on.

Love,

Mandie