A Letter to a Younger Me

Dear One,

Yes, he is cute. Yes, you actually noticed him. Yes, this is scary. Yes, you are going to be okay. I know it doesn’t feel like that in the moment. Right now, you feel like you’re the scum of the earth, that God hates you because of something you never chose, that if anyone found out about your secret, your world would end. But it won’t.

I wish I could tell you that things are going to get easy. I wish I could tell you that “healing” is possible, that God is going to provide a wife for you and you can live our your days as a what you consider a “normal guy.” But what is normal? You’ve never been normal, sweet thing. You’ve known it since you were really little that you were just a touch different.

From the time you wanted that little purse in the toy store, and Mom said you couldn’t have it. She said it was for girls, and you didn’t understand why it was such a big deal. All the way through middle school with all of your girlfriends, right up until the moment where it all came into focus. These feelings you have, there’s a word for them. And no, it’s not “abomination.”

The word you’re looking for is beloved. The word you’re searching for right now is blessed. Why? Because you are uniquely equipped, babe. You have a set of tools to navigate the world with a resilient joy and empathy that most folks in the world can never and will never possess. You’ve got a set of lenses to see the world through, and you’ll notice things that other people won’t. You’ll see people and be able to love them right where they are at. You’ll be able to hold their anger and hurt and pain better than others because you’re going to know what it is to be angry and to hurt and to experience pain.

That’s the kicker in all this… these gifts come with a cost. Your road will not be like your brothers. Your walk will not be as clean cut. In fact, you will be a pioneer for many people, not because you necessarily want to be, but it is what God has called you to. You will be misunderstood by your peers. You’ll lose opportunities that you’d have if you didn’t speak the truth. But you know what you’ll have in return?

One hell of an adventure.

Seriously. The people you are going to meet, the stages you’ll get to stand on, the strangers you’ll get to love, the friends that will become your family… it’s going to be brilliant. Really, truly it is.

The one thing that makes me sad is that… I just wish you wouldn’t doubt what you already know. You know what’s real. You know what God is speaking to you. Why can’t you trust that? Why can’t you just walk this path? It’s clearly marked…. I mean there is glitter everywhere. Because you’re going to get here eventually. That’s just the nature of these things, the nature of destiny. We stumble into it, really. No matter how hard we try to chase after the thing we think is going to give us joy, give us comfort, give us meaning, God is always gently guiding us back to the path on which we are to walk.

But then again, I wonder what our story would be like if you don’t walk what I had to… it’s an interesting paradox, isn’t it?

If I could tell you anything, anything at all that I wish I would have known then it’s this:

You will be okay. 

Seriously. It’s this beautiful, universal truth that isn’t ever going to fully sink in because you’re prone to anxiety and you have a dramatic streak in you. But dude, you’re gonna be okay. No matter the conversation, no matter the heartbreak, no matter the mess ups, it’s gonna be fine. You’ve got a lot going for you, more than most people, and that is something you won’t realize till you’re where I am sitting, paying your own bills with food in the fridge and a roof over your head.

On top of that, it’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to be upset about the shit that’s happening to you and around you. It’s okay to want the things you want. It’s okay to be angry, too. Just remember to direct your anger into action. Don’t let the fire of your passion burn you up to the point to where you become depressed.

It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to take space from things and people. It’s okay to give a damn.

I also wish I could tell you that the world becomes a better place, but looking at the state of things, I’m unsure I could say that with conviction. But I will say that good is still winning. Underneath all the bullshit and politics, beneath the denominational, theological, social lines, there is this shift that I’ve seen since I was your age. It’s one that leads toward better things, truer things.

You’re gonna find your people. And people are gonna find you. It will be overwhelming at times, but it’s going to be wonderful, beautiful.

It’s going to be so good, dear one. It really is. Just give it some time. Don’t lose heart.

There’s one last thing I need to tell you, and it’s something I have on the sticky note above my desk. I look at it every day to remind myself:

Be gentle with yourself. You’re gonna fuck it up a lot. And when you do, say you’re sorry, mend whatever relationships you need to mend, forgive yourself, and keep going. But that is the only way for you to get through this life alive is to not take yourself so seriously, to not be so harsh.

God loves you with an everlasting love, that neither you or I understand or could even begin to comprehend, so don’t try. Just say yes to it. Just give into it. Just release yourself into God’s care, and let the rest go.

I love you, dear one. And I’m so proud of the person you’re going to become.

Deep breaths, okay?

Love always,

PS- Cherish the Obama years… none of us had any idea how good we had it.

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