Not an object. Not a fantasy.

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We’ve all been there, right? Cat-called from a car on the street, gawked at in public, or sexualized by complete strangers. Objectification is an ongoing problem especially for women and LGBTQIA people. We are constantly “other-ed” into sexual and physical fantasies instead of being seen, at least immediately, as human beings. We’ve all been there.. or have we? Do you know what it feels like to be harassed, even in the seemingly friendliest-of-situations?

I express my gender in a fairly unique way. I’m very feminine. I wear make up, heels, and use handbags. I cherish the jewelry I’ve collected over years and wear pieces I’ve inherited from my grandmothers proudly. I sit at my mirror and apply bronzer and rouge as if I’m creating a painting: an expressive experience. I’m not attempting to transform into a character; I’m being Will. It’s not an act or a game. It’s not a performance. This is me. I feel most myself when I am this way. I am artistic, creative, complex. There are other people like me  (specifically within the ‘T’ and ‘Q’ spectrum of ‘LGBTQIA’) but society has done little to recognize our legitimacy so far. Being genderqueer/gender non-conforming isn’t so complicated to express, but it sure can be difficult to navigate in rigid heteronormative structures, especially dating.

I’ve been single for the past few years, which has certainly allowed me to grow as an individual person and discover my wants and needs.  And while being single has it’s perks, I hope for a long-term relationship. In a way, I desire a very heteronormative future when it comes to love. I’d like to get married one day and have children. This isn’t always so for many LGBTQIA people. The concept of marriage does not appeal to a lot of people who view the institution as oppressive or not fully encompassing the sexual and emotional human experience. I understand and stand up for my queer brethren who express love and sexuality outside of these institutions, but I still want this for myself. The problem is that I’m not taken seriously.

blandwood3                                                            Living my life at a Derby party

Sometimes it’s by a stranger in passing. They’ll say “you look gorgeous!” and then quickly recant their words and offer a new statement, “You’re so handsome!”… I’m wearing a jumpsuit and lipstick. Do you really think I look handsome? Sometimes it’s a text from a potential date “Well, I prefer you with facial hair.” Well, I don’t.  My expression is rarely recognized as authentic. I’m seen as a spectacle, even by friends. Constantly being referred to as fabulous, fierce, “out there”. These words can be compliments but more often than not inform me that I am not seen as a real person but as an object for entertainment. My body is real. My soul is real. I’m a human with ideas, hopes, and dreams. I’m not an accessory to glamorize your life or a potential hookup to fulfill some strange fetish you have.

I am attracted to men – er – to masculinity. Cisnormative? Yes, I know. But I cannot help that’s what I want. I can’t say that this attraction is reciprocated in a way beneficial to me or my circumstance. Gay men are usually just as confused by me as straight men are. I’ve dated gay men who express their desire for me to behave and present myself in a more masculine way (don’t wear make up, wear men’s clothes, don’t shave, etc.) and these conversations oppress me. They confine me to a cage where I am set to play a role not made for me. Then on the flip side there are straight men, many of whom have expressed their desire, but cannot seem to grasp the fact that they find me attractive. This is where I am fetishized the most. I do not want to be anyone’s weekend secret or evening fantasy. I want to be a partner.

Life as queer is difficult to navigate, not because of our identities and expressions, but because of the limitations set on us by other people. So before addressing someone who doesn’t fit within the gender binary or a heteronormative role, remind yourself that they are valid just as you are. See us as people. We breathe and love and feel just like you do. And we deserve love and respect, just as you do.

ab imo pectore,

Will

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Out of the closet, Into the world

Closets. Mine is a jumble of shoe boxes, sweaters desperately anticipating cooler weather, and boxes of unpacked items I cannot seem to find a place for. In the literal sense it’s just a tiny room. But metaphorically it’s a fortress. A safe haven. A prison. A maze.

I was seventeen and a rising junior in high school when I came out to my parents. I awoke early one July morning and left a long letter I had written the night before on my mom’s bedside table. Then I left for New York City.

It’s been eight years since then, and so much has happened in my life. I’ve finished high school and undergrad, been through various relationships, lost and gained friends, became a professional dancer and a teacher. And you know what? None of it would have been possible had I not thrown open that closet door and ran out.

I grew up in a large, loving family. I was a child who loved to draw, dance around the house in blankets, and play pretend outside with my older sisters. When I was a preschooler I accompanied my mom to a friend’s house for tea, spending hours in her sitting room staring into her glass menagerie admiring the sparkly splendor. I was completely captivated by it’s beauty and femininity.  It’s other-worldliness. I knew I was a part of it. I remember being so aware of myself back then. I dreamed of being a cat, a princess, a ballerina, a fairy. I didn’t realize that society had a different plan for me until I grew a little older.

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My sisters and me (age 5) in Switzerland. This was before my two brothers were born.

We were very religious and traditional. Church and Sunday school every week. Prayers before bed and every meal. Family dinners every night of the week. Scripture readings at the dinner table during Advent and Lent. A children’s bible rested on my bedside table, and was opened every night to provide me with spiritual bedtime stories. For many LGBTQ folk, this kind of upbringing was horrifying. They feel the oppression of the Church and are outcast as abominations by their families. I was lucky. I was born into a family whose hearts would be broken open. And they opened up for me.

While my family and I’s relationship with the Church has been a complicated one, I still hold my faith deeply in my heart. I may not attend mass every week, but my Catholicism is as every bit a part of me as my sexual orientation and expression of gender. Getting to this point of accepting all these aspects of my identity took some work, and some inspiration from my family.

When many people first meet me, I often hear how they admire my confidence, my lust for life, or my optimistic enthusiasm. I’ll admit- I’m a bubbly person, and quite often a goofball. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a dark side, or a dark past, within a bubbly exterior. I’ve been attending therapy on and off since childhood. First for anxiety, and later for depression. At 17, after I came out to my family, I was diagnosed with severe depression and was placed on a heavy dosage of antidepressant medication. I saw my therapist more than I saw my friends. My lows were low. And while I never went through with taking my own life, I confess I planned to more than once.  My saving grace was my family and church.

Before I came out to my parents, I attended Student Life Camp, a religious (and from what I remember, rather Pentecostal) conference in Tennessee with a United Methodist youth group that I was a part of. While there I came out to my friends and youth leaders. They prayed for me, hugged me, cried with me, comforted me, and made sure I knew they had my back. And they did. Youth group was a release for me. I felt I could be myself there, I didn’t have to act for anyone. I even had a youth leader who became a mentor for me, calling me if I had a fight with my parents, bringing me lunch at school if I was having a bad day, and introducing me LGBTQ friends and colleagues, so that I could see that there was hope for people like me. It was during this time that prayer became a normal part of my life in a sincere way. I wasn’t asking for myself to change, I was asking that the world would.

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                           Family photo while vacationing at Figure Eight Island

And while my parents, siblings and I had our ups and downs, as any family does, in the end they have been my greatest support system. I have a younger brother to thank for saving my life; simply because he wanted to play with me. My parents taught me what family is. And I thank them for showing me the good and the messy sides of our’s. They are my greatest role models. I have seen the advocacy work my parents and siblings do, and the unconditional love they pour out for all minorities and oppressed peoples. I am so grateful to have them. And I realize that this is a rare privilege.

The majority of LGBTQIA youth do not have the same family life that I have. Many are poor, homeless, thrown out. A large number don’t survive coming out because they don’t have the support. And my heart breaks for them every day.

So know that I am with you. If your family casts you aside, mine will take you in. You are my family. There is so much love for you. So that is why today, National Coming Out Day 2017, I urge you to open that closet door, put on your best pair of heels, and seize the day. If you stumble, I will be there to lift you back up.

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                        All smiles with my little sister and two of my cousins

 

ab imo pectore,

Will

 

 

 

 

Day 303- Robert Indermaur- The Theater of Man

A blog post I found on my grandfather’s cousin, the Swiss painter Robert Indermaur

Day of the Artist

It’s Day 303 and I’m feeling slightly under the weather…hopefully it’s just allergies and not a cold or flu…I have shows coming up that I don’t want to miss!  My friend Jon told me about today’s artist and lent me a book of his and I love his work.  It was really challenging finding much information on him online AND it was difficult to paint in his style…but it was very inspiring and thought-provoking.  I love the images and people he portrays.  Join me in honoring Robert Indermaur today!  I did find a small biography on his website.

Robert Indermaur Robert Indermaur

Der Kuckuck 1981- Robert Indermaur Der Kuckuck 1981- Robert Indermaur

Robert Indermaur

Born 1947 in Chur / Graubünden.

I went to school in Chur until completion at the Grisons teacher seminar in 1967.

In the following years I was traveling with friends across Europe, Asia and Africa.

In between, I taught as a primary school…

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A Day of Shouting

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As I made my way to work this morning, I drove by my neighborhood synagogue, noticing the crammed parking lot and rows of cars pouring out onto the street but not giving it much thought as I navigated my way through the chaos. When I got to my school, I was greeted by a student who was ecstatic over the apple cake he had for dessert at his “fancy dinner” the night before. When I asked the occasion he exclaimed, “The new year!”

Ah, of course! It’s Rosh Hashanah.

Celebrating the new year is a sacred time in many cultures. We reflect on the life we have lived and make decisions on how to continue for the future, always hoping to improve.  The Jewish New Year is a time of remembrance, prayer, and preparation for the most sacred holiday in Judaism: Yom Kippur, the day of atonement. The name Rosh Hashanah comes from the Hebrew רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה‎, meaning “beginning the year“. The traditional name for the holiday, Yom Teruah (יוֹם תְּרוּעָה‎), means “day of shouting”, due to the blasting of Shofar horns in remembrance of God’s sovereignty over the children of Israel.  

                       A man blowing a shofar horn in Jerusalem for Rosh Hashanah. 

So why should Catholics, and all Christians for that matter, care about Rosh Hashanah? The most simple explanation: it’s Biblical. The Book of Leviticus presents a conversation between God and the prophet Moses regarding the holy day:

“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the people of Israel, saying: In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of complete rest, a holy convocation commemorated with trumpet blasts. You shall not work at your occupations; and you shall present the Lord’s offering by fire.”

– Leviticus 23:23-25

This custom predates Christianity and is a part of our spiritual history – a fact that is often forgotten in Christian circles, particularly with the continued rise of White Nationalism and Neo-Nazism in the West. While the Church and Judaism have had a complicated and complex relationship over the past millennium, we both worship the God of Israel, El Shaddai; therefore, to be antisemitic is to hate God, Himself. Christ was Jewish, born into the House of David and a descendant of Jesse. Christianity is forever linked to Judaism, and without it we would not exist. It is a bond which can never be broken. We are siblings who share many beliefs, scriptures and customs, often without realizing just how similar we are. We must learn from the faith which gave us our own.

Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of Adam and Eve, reminding us that we are children of the same God.

While I strongly discourage appropriating a holiday that is observed by a specific group of people who has experienced thousands of years of violent oppression, I encourage all Christians to use this holy time to find unity with their Jewish brethren and reflect on how both faiths are connected. We can express our devotion to God and our love for His people together. Attend a temple service with a Jewish friend, family member, or neighbor.  Read the scriptures, observe the Sabbath, pray, and ask questions. Use this opportunity to grow in your faith.

 

“O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of Thy grace to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.” – Act of Contrition

The third sound, the Teruah, is a reminder to live honestly and to evaluate our lives with clarity, alertness, and focus. It’s about past, present, and future. It’s about where we come from and what we’ve done, who we are, and where we are going. The Talmud says, “When there’s judgment from below, there’s no need for judgment from above.” What does this mean? We are responsible for our actions. Just like with Shevarim, I am reminded of the Sacrament of Penance. When we kneel in the confessional and admit our transgressions before God and the Church, we are evaluating the life we have lived. When praying the Act of Contrition, we call to mind where we are at present and what we are striving for in the future. In the assignment of penance by a priest, we are given the tools to build the future we long for in goodness, truth, and love. Teruah is asking us to admit our wrongdoings and have a change of heart so that God does not judge, instead showing mercy and extending grace. God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, for we were not immaculately conceived like the Virgin Mary, sparred from the inheritance of original sin, so it is in our very nature to mess up. We are not angels, so we fall short in our free will by ignoring our conscience. We are not God, therefore we are flawed. It is not about failing or succeeding but about honesty. As long as we recognize our shortcomings, make up for our transgressions, and constantly strive to be loving, compassionate people then we are living justly. God wants us to be honest with ourselves and one another. Faith is a journey, just like life. We will stumble, but we have the ability to get back up and move forward.

In conclusion: Live authentically. Love unconditionally. Serve at every opportunity. And find the unity in diversity.

I wish you all Shanah Tovah!

 

ab imo pectore,

Will

 

Cafeteria Catholicism: It’s not a buffet

I am sure by now many of you have heard what Former White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon had to say in response to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ condemnation of Trump’s decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). As a Catholic I was appalled. As an American citizen I was embarrassed. But despite my initial disgust, I took a step back and mulled over what was said. In that moment I realized he had a point, although not the point he intended.

A little back story on DACA: The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is an immigration policy that was established by the Obama administration in 2012 that allows undocumented people who came to the United States as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and also establishes eligibility for a work permit. There are approximately 800,000 people, known as “Dreamers”, who are enrolled through DACA. The Trump administration has announced plans to rescind the policy within the next six months.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ condemnation of Trump’s decision comes as no surprise to anyone with basic knowledge of Catholic Social Teaching.

So why did Mr. Bannon, who is Catholic,  feel compelled to state the following,

“The bishops have been terrible about this. By the way, you know why? Because unable to really – to come to grips with the problems in the church. They need illegal aliens. They need illegal aliens to fill the churches. That’s – it’s obvious on the face of it. They have an economic interest. In unlimited immigration, unlimited illegal immigration.”

I know. Hard to digest, isn’t it? But look at what he followed up with:

“As much as I respect Cardinal Dolan and the bishops on doctrine, this is not doctrine. This is not doctrine at all.”

The second quote helped me process the cringe-worthy one proceeding it. Bannon is mistaken. He sees the Church’s fight to protect immigrants, especially undocumented people, as a political and economic move and not one of doctrine. But here’s the thing, it is doctrinal. The Church’s teachings on immigration reform have been written in various encyclicals. Encyclicals are expressions of the Magisterium of the Church and are, therefore, doctrine. And not only is it doctrinal, it’s Biblical. Check out Jesus’ own words from the 25th chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew:

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Caring for those less fortunate than us is central to the Catholic faith, and is at the root of Christian teaching.

I realized then that this isn’t the real problem that Mr. Bannon, perhaps unknowingly, was calling to light.  It’s that we pick and chose who matters. 

While I was in undergrad, my priest at the nearby parish gave many a homilies condemning so called “Cafeteria Catholicism”. He said that as Catholics, we cannot pick and chose what teachings to follow and what doctrines to believe. That’s living faith on the easy road- and it bears no good fruit. Our faith should constantly challenge us. Our faith is radical.

Mr. Bannon was wrong about the Church’s moral obligation to protect undocumented people and fight for immigration reform. But he was right about one thing; the Church picks which battles to fight based on economic and political interest, just as we often do in our own personal practices.

Just as the Church calls for us to uphold dogmatic and doctrinal teachings, we must call on the Church to do the same. We see the removal of humanity from LGBTQ people, women, the poor, the refugee, and many marginalized and ostracized groups. The Church’s relationship with these communities is a rocky one. While the Church is quicker to protect the unborn, the poor, and the immigrant it is not as quick to recognize that within these groups are people that are outwardly condemned by the Church. We like to think of the Church as prolife, but does the Church kneel to help LGBTQ people who have been thrown out by their families? Does the Church kneel to help a child who, for years, was abused by a clerical leader? Does the Church take responsibility for its own shortcomings and faults?

Let us seize this opportunity to stand with our immigrant siblings and recognize that by doing so we stand with people of all races, religions, genders, orientations, and expressions. Instead of focusing on what divides us, let us see our diversity come together in the unification of all people through Christ Jesus, who erases our barriers (including gender and national boarder) and makes us one (Galatians 3:28). We are a complex and diverse peoples, but are we all people. Just as the Trinity is complex and diverse, but is still One God.

The Church teaches that all humans are deserving of basic rights and dignity, and that in Christ we are all one; children of the Father. There is no gentile nor Jew. No man nor woman. There is but one in Christ Jesus. It’s time we call on our bishops to uphold that.

ab imo pectore,

Will

 

Remembering 9/11: Mychal Judge (Saint of the day)

Saint of the Day (9/11/2017) 

Mychal Fallon Judge, O.F.M.

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(May 11, 1933 – September 11, 2001)

Priest, Advocate, Hero

On this National Day of Service and Remembrance (Patriot Day) we reflect, as a nation, on the 2,996 lives lost during the Attacks of September 11, 2001 and the thousands of others who were injured and whose lives were completely changed. It’s hard to believe sixteen years have past since that horrific day. We all remember it like it was yesterday. I was a student in Mrs. Greene’s third grade class at Riverside Elementary School in Suwanee, Georgia (a suburb of Atlanta) when another teacher ran into our room, whispered to Mrs. Greene and turned on the classroom TV to reveal video footage playing over and over of American Airlines Flight 11 crashing into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Those images have stayed in my mind ever since.

It’s hard to look back at what happened and not feel some sort of hopelessness, fear, and even hatred. I pray we use this day for unity across the United States. A day that all Americans regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic class, and political views can come together to mourn and remember. On this day, I would like to take the time to honor the man who became the first certified fatality of the September 11 Attacks, Father Mychal Fallon Judge.

Fr. Judge was a Catholic priest, a Franciscan friar in the Order of Friars Minor, and a chaplain to the New York City Fire Department. Upon learning of the attacks on the World Trade Center, Fr. Judge took up his post on the scene. He prayed over bodies of victims in the street before entering the World Trade’s North Tower where he aided fire fighters and offered prayers for the rescuers and victims. He was killed when the South Tower collapsed at 9:59 AM. His body was found by a NYPD lieutenant, who was assisted by two fireman, a FDNY EMT, and a civilian bystander in carrying Fr. Judge’s body out of the tower. A photograph of these men carrying Fr. Judge’s body, captured by photographer Shannon Stapleton, is one of the most famous pictures of 9/11. His body was laid in St. Peter’s Catholic Church before being taken to the medical examiner. Although many others had been killed before him, Fr. Judge’s was the first body to be recovered and taken to the medical examiner, being designated as Victim 0001.

Fr. Judge died in service, just as he had lived in service. In service to his community, in service to his country, and in service to God. His work was not only devoted to serving Catholics and members of the New York Fire Department, but also to the LGBTQ community.

Fr. Judge was a gay man, although he remained celibate as a priest of the Catholic Church. He was a member of the Catholic LGBT activist organization DignityUSA, advocating for change in the Church’s teachings regarding homosexuality. When John Cardinal O’Connor, Archbishop of New York, banned DignityUSA from operating in diocesan churches, Fr. Judge welcomed DignityUSA’s AIDS ministry into the Church of St. Francis of Assisi on 135–139 West 31st Street in Manhattan, which was under the authority of the Franciscans and not the Archdiocese of New York. He was a member of the clergy who fought for LGBTQ people to be seen as equal members of the Church and of society.

“Is there so much love in the world that we can afford to discriminate against any kind of love?” – Fr. Mychal Judge

 

He will be remembered as a man who loved unconditionally and gave of himself entirely. His funeral mass at St. Francis Church was attended by over 3,000 people, including Bill and Hillary Clinton.

“We should lift his life up as an example of what has to prevail. We have to be more like Father Mike than the people who killed him.” – Former U.S. President Bill Clinton

Fr. Judge was laid to rest at the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Totowa, New Jersey. His fire helmet was presented to Pope John Paul II. Since his death there have been calls within the Catholic Church to canonize him (that is, to name him as an official saint). While he is not recognized as a saint in the Catholic Church, many efforts have been made to memorialize him and honor his legacy.

The Orthodox-Catholic Church of America declared him a saint. In 2014 he was inducted into the Legacy Walk, which celebrates LGBT history. GALA-ND/SMC posthumously awarded him the Dooley Award for heroism and commitment to the dignity of LGBTQ people. And every year thousands gather in New York City to celebrate his legacy with the Father Mychal F. Judge Walk of Remembrance. May we continue to remember him, and all those who lost their lives that day, by following his example to love and serve the world around us, regardless of our differences. Thank you, Fr. Judge. May you rest in peace.

Lord,
Take me where you want me to go,
Let me meet who you want me to meet,
Tell me what you want me to say and
Keep me out of your way

Amen.

ab imo pectore,

Will

 

Mama Bear Story Project #15 – Meredith Webster Indermaur

From the heart of my mother

Serendipitydodah

The Mama Bear Story Project is a collection of portraits and autobiographical essays from members of Serendipitydodah for Moms – a private Facebook group for open minded Christian moms of LGBTQ kids.

This Mama Bear Story Project is also being submitted as part of :
Blogging for LGBTQ Families Day, June 1st 2017

Meredith

In the South, coming out is the language of debutantes, those rosy-cheeked young women in long white dresses and matching white gloves up to the elbow, floating like feathers down marble staircases the size of Texas. Their introduction to society is a celebratory time of champagne and parties, of photo opportunities in green backyard gardens, of laughter and back-slapping, of proud fathers and stressed-out mothers – a kind of nuptials trial run.

That fanfare is a far cry from the coming out of the boy I birthed on a chilly midwestern morning just seventeen summers prior – the…

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Building bridges, not walls.

“In the social and civil context as well, I appeal not to create walls but to build bridges. To not respond to evil with evil. To defeat evil with good, the offence with forgiveness.”  – Pope Francis

As I write this post, I reflect on the conversations I’ve had today with coworkers, friends and family. Conversations filled with concern, anxiety, doubt, and hope. What about? Loving Thy Neighbor.

We are living in a difficult time, for sure. Extreme nationalism is on the rise across the United States and Western Europe. People are upset, scared, desperate and begging for solutions, and some of that desperation led to the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States of America.

Let me state here that if you voted for Trump, although I do not support him or anything his administration stands for or has done, I love you. I understand feeling displaced, abandoned, and lost. I know what it feels like to be overlooked or cast down by established institutions. I’m with you. In that, I believe you will find we have a lot more in common than we are led to think.

It’s frightening how easy it is to erase the humanity from another person. To discredit their opinions, their rights, and their existence simply because of disagreement. To write them off as “other”.  I’m as guilty of this as the next person. We’ve all done it. Many of us, myself included, have even experienced the other side of it. We’re often blind to the common ground between us. And I hope that, at least here, I can start to wash the grime out of my eyes and see people for people, regardless of their beliefs. And I hope you do the same.

Topics I will be addressing on this blog and conversations I hope to have are sometimes going to be controversial, not necessarily because they are political,  but because they revolve around our humanity. So let us move forward with open hearts and open minds to learn from each other. May we build bridges, not walls.

“We should indeed keep calm in the face of difference, and live our lives in a state of inclusion and wonder at the diversity of humanity.” – George Takei

ab imo pectore,

Will