I’ve debated for days whether or not I should write this. It may never be seen beyond the glow of my computer screen, but I think I need to say it. Perhaps for myself more than anyone else. These past few weeks have been hard.
I’ve felt lost.
I’ve felt dejected.
I’ve felt tired.
The last year and more specifically, the last month I’ve seen a side of our country, I’ve seen a side of my friends, I’ve seen a side of myself, that feel like they’ve broken me.
But then something happened.
Two weeks ago week was our first official Younglife Club for The Monarch School in San Diego. It also happened to be election night. I sat with several kids, all of us with tears in our eyes, as they spoke of the bigger question marks this new president will hang over the heads of their futures and the futures of their families.
And my heart broke.
You see, in the last year, these kids have worked their way so far into my being that their hurts, their fears, their tears have become my own.
I didn’t have any answers and still don’t—not for them, not for you, not for me. I’m still very confused as to what our collective futures hold.
But last week we had our second club. We played games and laughed as we spit water on one another…it’s weird, I get it. Towards the end I sat down to share with them my heart and couldn’t help but notice the big, bold words written above my head. “You belong here,” they declared.
I shared my heart; I told of my long-fought battle with anxiety and how God has shown up. I talked about Jesus healing a social pariah in the New Testament. And I spoke of how God has given us the gift of one another; that not only do we get to love, cherish and care for each other, we need to.
We need each other.
You belong here.
Each one of us has a role to play and I think more than ever it’s time we steward that calling.
But even more than my need to take up my calling, I think I need to recognize yours.
I want to recognize and hold sacred that even if we disagree, you belong here.
That even when we’re frustrated, feel misunderstood or worse, disregarded; we belong here.
Our belonging isn’t hinged upon by the level of acceptance we give one another—you belong as much as I do regardless of what the other might think—but I want to live out my life in a way in which you feel and know that acceptance. I want to healthily disagree in a political climate that is anything but a picture of harmony.
I want to lay down my weapons of rhetoric, fear and frustration and listen. I want to reach across the aisle to my friends who live outside my brain and outside my neighborhood and hear their hearts.
And I want my sweet friends who fear for their safety; who feel their voices being silenced, to know they belong here just as much as you or I. And I will not stand for them thinking otherwise. If I belong and you belong, then they belong too.
I think change starts here. With us. Together.
Because you belong here. We belong here.