You Are Loved.

In the wake of the horrible bullying and the national headlines--from Matthew Shephard 14 years ago, to the Boy Scouts' recent denial of an Eagle Scout Honors to a brilliant young man because of his sexual orientation, to the sickening videos by Amanda Todd, the young victim of internet bullying who took her life this week--my heart is breaking.

Instead of judging someone who had the courage to be open and honest about themselves, why can't we accept them?

Instead of allowing someone to make a mistake, why do we crucify them?

Stop the hate.

I walked into church yesterday morning--the famous Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco--nervous and a bit scared to be back in a Church setting. It's been a while since I've been to one, and I didn't know what to expect. Over the years, I've built up walls about what it meant to be a part of Church, and it no longer felt like a community or a space I could resonate with. I don't like the hype of what "Church" feels like, and I have a whole basket of mixed emotions about my relationship with the conservative space that has so often stood up for things (or against things) that I can't align myself with. And in a more vulnerable-than-normal confession: I myself am not always sure what I believe in. I believe in a greater truth, and in a Universe and in things that I can't explain or understand, but as I walk through life, I've not found a certainty or knowing.

But yesterday, when I walked into Church, this crazy-wacky-wonderful church in the derelict-but-somehow-lovely Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco, a liberal enclave if there ever was one, I started laughing and crying at the same time. The leader got up on a chair in the front of the stained-glass, folding-chair, high-ceiling amalgamation of people and said,

"Hello, hello. Hello! I'm so glad you're here. I'm so glad you came. I don't care if you're white, black, brown, yellow, old, young, on your cell phone, sick, tired, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, on a spiritual path, not on a spiritual path, or not even sure what you're doing here.

I'm just glad that you're here.

Now if you can just give your neighbor a hug for me, tell them you're glad they're here. Everyone deserves to be here. Hello, Blessings, Shalom, Namaste, Welcome." 

And I remembered, of course, what I believe in.

I believe.

I believe in love.

I believe in compassion.

I believe in celebration, and in kindness, and in taking time to perform rituals. I believe in singing. I believe in the goodness of humanity. I believe in community, and sharing, and making joyful noises together. I believe in love.

And for every single person--to all of the thirteen, fifteen, eighteen year-old girls and boys, young men and women out who are out there, scared, terrified, nervous, afraid, and feeling overwhelmingly alone: I really want to hug you and tell you that it's going to be alright. No matter what you're going through, there are people in this world that will love you and you can get through this. If you ever find yourself in the space of bullying, fear, terrified, scared, uncertain, or overwhelmed with loneliness: know that I, too, have been there. I went through it. I know that your heart is aching. I know. I know what it's like to be a scared teenager, and I know what it's like to get lost inside the space of your mind and feel like getting out is an impossibility.

I know.

Tell someone. Call someone. Call me. You can call me. I'm not kidding: I am only an email away, and wherever you are, if you read this, come find me. I'll answer the email. It may take a couple of hours, or a day or two if I'm on an airplane, but I'm usually pretty good at responding. More importantly, I AM HERE AND I CARE ABOUT YOU. Never forget that. Even if I don't know you, I love you. Put something in the headline that says "Sarah, I really need to talk to you right now and it's IMPORTANT." Tell me your story. Tell me what's happening. Find someone to talk to. Don't stay alone. We love you. There are people who love you. You deserve to be here. I can't stand the fact that people feel so alone that they will take their own lives.

If you can't find me or someone else, try a couple of things:

  • Breathe.
  • Remember that everything will change. You will have a life that you can't even imagine, if you'll give it a chance.
  • Tell someone. Here are some words that you can use: "I need someone to listen to me." "Will you help me find someone to talk to?" "I'm scared." "This is hard for me." 
  • Go for a walk.
  • Write about it.
  • Make a happiness list of the small things in life that make you happy. Your favorite color. The smell of a sandwich. The color of the ocean. Try it.

I believe in love.

Everyone deserves to be loved. There is enough love to go around. It doesn't come in limited quantities. The news of Amanda and Matthew and countless others makes me cry. Stop bullying. Stop it. Stop being mean. Find a space inside your heart for compassion and kindness. We all deserve to be loved. Go tell someone that you love them.

I love you.

With love,

 


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19 Responses to You Are Loved.

  1. MJ says:

    I needed this today, this piece really spoke to me and for that I wanted to say THANK YOU.

  2. Trish says:

    This may be one of the best blog posts I have ever read….thank you for sharing!

  3. Samuel says:

    Every time I receive an email notification and read your updated posts: I’m always enlightened with something new, a fresh perspective and a great feeling about the people in the world. Thank you for being here Sarah.

  4. Bill says:

    I have just recently started to read your blog and it is evident that you believe in love. Thank you and much love to you and all your readers.

  5. Jezrel says:

    :’( You completed my day again, Sarah… :) Thank you.

    • Jezrel says:

      Seriously, this post deeply touched my heart…made me :’( for a while.. while listening to this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMXpHhr_NkA …i just read about Amanda’s flash card (in Youtube) only yesterday morning… :(

      • Lauren says:

        Thanks, Sarah. This really reminds me of the preface from Donna Rose’s “Wrapped in Blue”:
        ——————–
        “It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are.” – Anonymous

        Some people consider that accomplishment to be courageous. Others seem to consider it to be the epitome of weakness. Some, in fact, consider what I have achieved to be a sin against God, against nature, and against humankind. But to me, it’s none of those things. It’s just my life.
        ——————–

        Despite undergoing many years of psychotherapy, it wasn’t until I had found a group of friends that supported me was I able to forgive myself and begin to simply live. It’s so true — all what we want is to merely be loved.

        • Sarah says:

          I love that preface. It’s beautiful. And the quote–so good as well. I’m going to share that and use it in some upcoming posts!

          I think we’re all a little stranger, weirder, sadder and lonelier than we’d like to admit. But we have to remember that kindness to ourselves is so important: it’s the most important of all. To love ourselves, to love others, and to let ourselves be loved. Sometimes we have to learn to love ourselves first before we go out and expect everyone else to love us. And when we find it in our hearts to be kind inwardly, the world opens up outwardly.

          Thanks for sharing… so great to hear your story.

  6. Jenny says:

    I’m a teacher and kids need to hear this. Our admin had a wonderful assembly in honor of Megan Meier and the kids loved it. Helped so much, of course there is still bullying all the time -

  7. Christiana says:

    This is one of the nicest things I’ve ever read, on the internet or elsewhere. Thank you.

  8. Karina says:

    As a high school teacher, I try to tell them this. This time will be difficult but it shall pass and it won’t last forever. A lot to times, it’s really hard to see them down and not knowing exactly what’s going on or if they need support.

    Just wanted to say this post is beautiful like all the ones I’ve read on here so far. Keep loving and doing what you do!
    Hugs,
    Karina

  9. This is without a doubt something I, and countless others, will bookmark and return to, time and time again, when they need the affirmation that they’re worth a damn. Even the best and most confident of us need someone, somewhere, to remind us that we matter and that we’re loved. Thank you.

  10. Lonnie says:

    You’re right. This is important. MASSIVELY important.
    I believe in love. I l believe in compassion. It might take baby steps. Compassion might be too big. Try Not Hate.
    YOU are important …
    This is a wonderful post. Your heart and soul are evident. I have not wiped tears from my eyes while reading anything in quite some time.
    Every time someone like you puts a little light out in the world, you beat back a little more darkness. This post may just save a life, Sarah. I can’t imagine a greater deed.
    You love me? Well, I love you. Take it and like it!
    You just made the top of my gratitude list.
    May you be blessed with a long fruitful life!

  11. Gary says:

    Thank you for sharing your love and compassion and inspiring us to do the same. If we all light a candle and share the light, perhaps we can illuminate the darkness that too many people feel. Namaste.

  12. Bill M says:

    Wow. Thanks for this.

  13. Dan McGaffin says:

    Great post Sarah. Once I got to the second part of what you were talking about I was reminded of a friend of mine who has said similar things and I just had to share it with her. Simply wonderful.

  14. [...] With love, [...]

  15. Zack Clinard says:

    Sarah, I enjoy your writing; about your perspective on the world, the vulnerabilities you share, and the risks you take! (sadly though, I am behind on my reading, thus the late reply)
    My own writing is nascent at best.
    Few people want to read about a convicted felon who believes In God.
    I am a criminal, and a sinner, but God showered me with love when others couldn’t.
    And now, I cannot not keep the words inside me even if no one else ever reads them.
    Thats what love does – It walks into the dark places of life, and illuminates the truth…
    that we are all worthwhile and loved!
    Dr. Martin Luther King said it another way:
    Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
    only light can do that.
    Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

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