Seeing (or not)

Monday I wrote about disconnection. Since then I’ve been thinking about disconnected and fractured relationships and in particular within families. A prominant cause of such fracturing and disconnection, and then leading to homelessness in youth in the United States is around issues of sexual and gender identity.

In Northfield, the Northfield Union of Youth (also known as The Key) has created the Wallflower Project to provide safe, temporary housing to young adults (16 and up) who find themselves without a safe place to live. There is shockingly little safe harbor for such individuals facing homelessness where I live. Here’s a link to an article with more about this particular project.

I’ve been wrestling this week with walking in the shoes of a young adult feeling marginalized, disconnected, and not validated or even seen by the community in which they live. I do not accept the argument that this is a choice or a fad. Would you choose to marginilize yourself? And I am appalled at vitriol, hate, and scorn that is piled upon individuals who are wrestling with such issues of identity. This leads to “otherizing” and dismissal of an individual’s personhood–their humanity.

We all want to belong. It’s more than acceptance or tolerance. We want to be safe and loved within a community. Just loved.

That brings me to another U2 song. Ordinary Love. This is a song originally written in honor of Nelson Mandela for the film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. That’s a very specific purpose/meaning. I find something much broader about connection to others. Just love. Ordinary love.

In the Chorus, Bono sings:

We can’t fall any further if
We can’t feel ordinary love
And we can’t reach any higher,
If we can’t deal with ordinary love

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