Last night I received this letter on Facebook from someone who I have never met face to face but has been a huge support nonetheless. Sometimes Facebook doesn't suck...
Dear Mr. Yankolovich,
I'm about to pull the plug on my Facebook account, and I have a few words I'd like to say to you before I do, so here goes....I'm by no means a religious man. I never have been, and to be honest with you, the chances of that are changing between now and my death are quite slim. Anyhow, the holidays bring out considerable pride in religion, and they also bring the fangs of judgment, the harshness of ignorance, the blunt face of disrespect, and the hypocrisy of wanting to be heard and accepted without the willingness to listen and accept. I hold a great deal of respect for the personal beliefs of others, and at times I find myself not holding tight to my own stance of upholding respect to the sensitivities and beliefs of others, as I often find myself speaking from anger or ignorance without taking a moment to reflect upon my own philosophy. I'm sure I've said many things that have felt like a cold slap in the pride to many religious aficionados out there. I am human, and I make mistakes. I also own up to my mistakes, and if I have ever offended you with my bluntness or insensitive sense of humor, I hope you can find it feasible to accept my apology.
Moving on, I also hold a great deal of respect for those who actively practice and follow their chosen beliefs in what I see as an open minded and whole hearted path, as well as for the proper reasons. Speaking from your heart, as an extension of your soul held under the umbrella of your love for yourself and your fellow man, without corruption, false morale or ulterior expectations or motivations, is the path I'm speaking of. Many people do so, many people do not. Many people use the tools they are given to build a safe haven for the souls of the hopeless, so that they, even if for only a brief moment, can feel comforted, understood and accepted. That is my personal thought on the foundation of religion. In my opinion, spirituality should come from the spirit, and not from the ego, the pride, a book, or the wallet. It should be a direct connection between the soul of one to the soul of another, under the guidance and direction of the greater universal spirit, whatever or whomever that may be.
When I see you, I see a man who I believe fully understands what I've just written here, and I see a man who does just that. I see an intelligent, compassionate, and brilliantly creative man who has harnessed his belief and used the tools he was given to help spread the message of love without being bound by conformity or held to a common "standard" of expectation. I see a man who has taken a unique stance to a common goal, which I'm certain has given light to many who would still be in left in the darkness of conventional practice. I see a man who has defied fear, defied ridicule, defied criticism, and defied the misguided fools whose only cowardly instinct towards understanding and acceptance is to gnash their teeth at the flesh of the one carrying the message. Essentially, when I see you, I see the true meaning of religion, and I see and understand what it means to be a messenger of your Lord.
I want to thank you, Brother, for everything that you do, and everything that you are. Your music, your ministry, your outreach, your uniqueness, your message, everything down to your feather boas and leather boots. You're a true hero, a true teacher, and most importantly, a true human being. I hope this message finds you well, and I wish you all the best in your beautiful endeavors. The world needs more people like you, Paisley, and it's that much more beautiful because of the radiance you bring to it. Keep on preaching, reaching and teaching, because somewhere out there, there's another someone who needs you to open the door for them, and you, Sir, make a damn fine doorman. I wish you a very Merry Christmas, amigo.
Brotherly Love and Light,