Throughout my 25 years as a mother I have been blessed to have the home where kids wanted to come and to be the woman that people called Mama C. They knew that to enter my kitchen was to enter a safe place where anything could be discussed, and I would listen, reserving all of the judgement and none of the love.
In teenage years I truly became known as the home for wayward teens. There were a few years running that I always had a “stray” teen living with me. And while I loved to be the soft place to land my heart would always be broken for the reasons why.
With the one exception of a teen pregnancy, the teens that lived with me had been asked to leave home when they came out to their families. With each of them, the reasons for this forced exodus from their home was explained as religious reasons. The parents simply could not have that type of sin living underneath their roof.
Now I am a bible believing, Jesus loving woman.
But I also believe that my Jesus loved a good battle with the Pharisees. He admonished people to live the “spirit of the law” and not the “letter”. When pushed to say which of the commandments is the greatest, He answered with the famous: To love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all of your might; and to love your neighbor as yourself.
I want to ask these parents the equally famous question: Who is your neighbor?
Can you truly say you are following scripture if you do not love your neighbor? Is not your very own flesh and blood your neighbor? Did Jesus tell us to turn our backs on sinners; to condemn? Or did he not say: Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. (Luke 6:38)
I shudder to think of this- the measure you use it will be measured back to you. So let’s transpose this onto this situation. You can no longer live in my house because of your sinful nature, so I am sending you out; young, vulnerable, helpless, and afraid. And now let me pick up my rosary beads and pray. Let me walk into the confessional and get down on my knees and beg God for mercy….and let me hear him say- ah, no. Sorry. You need to leave my house. You need to get out. You are no longer welcome here. We can’t have your sin in our house. The measure you use will be measured back to you…..
What if instead these teens had been met with love? Unconditional love that only a parent can truly deliver? You are my beloved child and we are going to walk through this together. The world will hate you and berate you, and I can’t imagine what the battle has been in your heart, but I can tell you that you are safe in your home, and you have safety in my heart, and further, you are safe in God’s love…..
No, instead they came to me. Broken and rejected; homeless; vulnerable and scared. And I was not able to love them back to wholeness, not even with the ferocity and willingness of my love…
…because I was not their mom. I could offer them a safe place to be. I could help them find solutions. I could listen. I could bear witness to their journey, and certainly, I could wipe the tears, and make them a casserole. But I could not undo the rejection they had suffered. And so it goes. The very people who proclaim that their life has been found in Christ Jesus, in his death on the cross, in the very fact that He paid a price for their sins….have withheld that same love and mercy from the people that they have been charged with loving no matter what. John Paul II said famously that the “family is the first church”. Imagine that. Imagine the wounds we heap by the weight of that judgment.
People wonder why we need a Pride month. I have heard it all.
We have pride month because there are still people who would rather send their children out like sheep to a slaughter, rather than walk through this brave step with them. We have pride month because there are teenagers everywhere who do not have a Mama C to take them in, so instead, they become lost to the streets. We have pride month because we need to know that it is necessary to find a way to cross the church pew and to love our neighbors as ourselves. ALL of our neighbors. We have pride month because we are called by virtue of our salvation to love the spirit of the law…..to love. 1 John says: How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we can be called children of God.
Love. That is why we have Pride month.
Love, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. Love more. That is why we have Pride.
*published anonymously per author’s request