This week a young friend felt compelled to come out on Facebook as gay after the mass killings in a gay nightclub in Orlando. After apologizing for not telling his family and friends in person, he went on to say:
“Of course I am afraid. I have very good reason to be afraid. I am also angry. The murder was and still is despicable. But I will not let that get in the way of my life. The best way to fight these crimes is to stand up for ourselves, and that is what I intend to do. June is pride month, and the best way to show our pride is to unite against crimes against humanity such as these.”
I am glad he gave me permission to share his words.
The temptation to demonize others and to build walls when we feel or are threatened is not new to our times. But I think my friend would probably agree with Rumi, a Muslim poet born in Afghanistan eight centuries ago, who himself was a refugee, forced to flee the violent invasion of Genghis Khan:
Rumi wrote: “Why struggle to open a door between us when the whole wall is an illusion? Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” And I would add, “and join with others—to give and get encouragement and support—who are also doing this work.”
And then my friend ended his post with “Love is love.” I couldn’t have said it any better.