If there is one thing I could ask for this New Year, it would be that we could love each other a little more.
One of the sad stories whipping around the Internet today is about Leelah Alcorn, a teen who committed suicide because her parents couldn’t come to terms with the fact that their child, born a boy, identified as a girl. Her suicide note was left on her Tumblr page here. According to this report, suicides among trans-gendered people are at 41% whereas the general population in the US has a 4.6% rate. Why? Because we have failed to love one another. We have failed to allow people to simply be who they are. We want others around us to be just like us and have difficulty saying, “I love you as you are.”
What is love? Well, I know what it isn’t. It isn’t requiring that people change to make you more comfortable. It is the opposite. It is saying, “I love you as you are.” It is accepting that you won’t be comfortable with every person on this planet, sometimes your own children.
Leelah’s parents looked to their faith for answers in this difficult situation. Unfortunately, I believe they missed the pertinent parts of Jesus’ example. He was a man who spent time with his society’s “untouchables:” a tax collector, a Samaritan woman who’d been divorced many times and was living with her current boyfriend, a prostitute, and probably others. He loved them all equally and without bias.
Is there someone in your life who challenges your ability to love equally and without bias? I do. Perhaps we can all try to take a moment to ask ourselves how to love more perfectly instead of asking the difficult people to change for us.