The world is grieving the horrific mass murder of so many innocent LGBTQ people and family. Hearts are wrecked, wondering where we go from here. Moms in my secret Facebook support group are afraid for their kids, wondering how to help them navigate when a place of sanctuary can be destroyed in one disastrous night.
LGBTQ people have sent tender messages, afraid for their lives—many who lost friends that night—but they are tired of living in fear. That’s what the closet was all about and they are soooo done.
These are tender-hearted, gentle, funny, smart, courageous people who just want to live in peace. Just live in peace.
It was just a year ago that we cried tears of joy when marriage equality became the law of the land. Now we cry tears of unspeakable pain and grief.
We are all asking where in the world do we go from here. How do we pick up the pieces of a shattered night and move forward?
Here’s the main point here: Your life matters.
Your life is beautiful and loving and overflowing with light. Your life is a tapestry of 10,000 tears and 10,000 prayers and endless self-examination—those hard rites of passage that have formed a beauty in you no one can diminish.
I know you, I see you, and you are among the most courageous people in the world.
SB, broken by torturous “exorcisms to make you straight,” you found the courage to break free and say, No more. Your road of healing wounds Christians have inflicted is long and hard, but light shines in your eyes and hope fills your heart, and I’m confident you will emerge wonderfully whole and finally confident in who God made you to be.
L and C, who had to move apartments for your own protection because the father of one lunged to kill the other—you have full lives ahead and a beautiful contribution to make.
C, having fought long and endless battles against family and misguided conservative teaching, you have shown outrageous courage and finally emerged in your rainbow colors to say, This is who I am, period.
Shane, who came out in your forties after years of prayer and struggle—finally admitting who you are that no amount of “therapy” will change—you are clever and funny and inspiring, and I’m glad to know you.
To those who told me about people you lost in Orlando’s massacre, I am so sorry. How raw your broken heart must be. You will grieve and weep and ask why, and you will recover. You will go on to find more courage and resolve than you know you had.
To all of you—all the countless numbers of you whom I love dearly, and your beautiful families who just want you to be safe—we will heal, we will be strong, and we will express the love and beauty we are here to express, you can count on it.
There will always be fearful people who will turn their angst out because they can no longer hold it in. It has always been and I suppose will always be.
Don’t live in fear of them. Don’t deny your own life and reality to avoid the what-ifs and maybes of people who want to hurt you. They don’t know you, they don’t care about you, and they are not the boss of you.
You choose your own path, you live as fully as possible—until your days are all used up, whenever that may be. You be true to yourself because that is the only life worth living.
We who love you stand with you, with courage, against those who would terrorize you—whether by machine-gun or pulpit or Facebook.
You are the ones who walk the hero’s journey with the courage of any hero. You are the ones who are showing the world—and the church—how to love.
I thank you all with my whole heart for being love.
Parents who are wondering how to move forward, please don’t pull back in fear. None of us know what’s ahead, and we cannot live to avoid risk, because then we’re stuck in a life with walls closing in around us.
We must live consistent with who we are, which is love, to be lived in community, in love and fullness and hope.
There’s more stuff to do, more people to love, more truth to live. Together, let’s live it, life to the fullest.