Dear Lance.


I am writing an open letter to you because you have given me no choice. I was ready to mail you one that I had recently written to the Salvation Army just the other day, but you are no longer there. You have no phone. I don’t know how else to find you. So, here is what I need to tell you.


The day before you entered rehab 30 some odd days ago, I received a text from you with very specific song lyrics and a song title that all but begged me to trust you, in spite of everything. The song recognizes the torment of someone who has lived through hell and is asking to be known not for the things done, but for the soul deep inside the human heart.

I told you later how the lyrics can be read both positively and negatively and that in the end I would always err on the side of believing in you; choosing the notion that we are more than a sum of our parts.

Now what am I supposed to think?

Your life is in a bag. The freezing, spitting rain fall is starting to give way out on the cold streets and I struggle knowing you are nomadically moving around without any kind of guidance or direction. You chose, completely on your own volition, to be homeless. Perhaps more than the addiction itself, the mental illness, or the bad choices, this is a poignantly strong situation that I fail to understand the most.

I found lyrics too, you know.

Cause all the dreams you never thought you’d lose, go tossed along the way.

Letters that you never meant to send got lost or thrown away.

You may never understand this, but there are people, myself included, who have been pushing for you since the beginning. I don’t just mean people in our family, neighbors, or mom and dad. I mean friends I have all over the country – all over the world. People pray for Africa like it has not holding power in the world but Africa prays too. Often, not for itself. My family in Rwanda lifts your name to heaven often and frequently. Divine always asks about you in any conversation we’ve had. Without much tangible financial capital, their human and social capital is limitless – literally and firmly trusting that Jesus will enter your heart. Has he?

Scars are souveniors you never lose – the past is never far.

Did you lose yourself somewhere out there? Did you get to be a star?

Broken promises crash down and do you grasp that choosing a life on the streets is asking – begging – for more scars? I had one request of you – don’t make me an only child. You looked down, sighed, and said you wouldn’t. I have finally come back home – from wandering, living, thriving in life in a lot of different corners of the world. Rwanda yes, but Arkansas too. And to my dismay, I returned, but you did not. What will it take, Lance? What is it that will motivate you enough to WANT to be here?

Words are not enough in this saga, Lance, you know that. You have to do something different. I want my brother back.

You grow up way too fast and now there’s nothing to believe and reruns become our history.

A tired song keeps playing on a tired radio and I won’t tell no one your name.

Like a tired song, hearts are exhausted. Hope, however, never dies. I hope you choose right for yourself. Do enough to stay clean. Every minute, every hour, every second. Whatever it takes. Choose Life. Get yourself out of dumpsters, alleys, and drugs. Don’t you see how no one can do it for you?

God can. But, you have to want to.

Save your life. Please.

I love you.


I think about you all the time, but I don’t need the same.

It’s lonely where you are, come back down. And I won’t tell ‘em your name.


Name, Goo Goo Dolls.

Hawaii, 2010.
Hawaii, 2010.

Categories: UncategorizedTags: , , , , , ,

Heather Newell Oglesby

Hi! I'm Heather. I am a writer and counselor in-training. I share stories so we can keep the magic of being human alive. I spend a great deal of time going on long walks with my wife, rollerblading, learning, and traveling to find new adventures. By day, I work as an Education and Employment Specialist for Jefferson Center for Mental Health, working with adolescents who have experienced their first episode of psychosis. A Colorado native, I love dark-roasted coffee, sunshine, and succulents. Enthusiasm, passion, and possibility: that's me at my best.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s