Today is a celebration of Homecoming at my first alma mater, Gordon College, a place that became a home to me 10 years ago and will always hold a special place in my heart. Gordon provided a safe space for me to grow as an intellectual, a spiritually-minded person, and as a friend. And I met amazing people of all ages - we laid in the middle of the quad and dreamed about love, we danced through all hours of the night, we practiced speaking other languages, we shared joy in our work, and we spent a ton of time hanging out in the trees. When I'm having a particularly hard day, most often the quickest calm comes over me when I picture myself in my bed in my dorm, the window open, the rain pouring, the muffled laughs of my friends in the next room.
But I can no longer think of this school, this home, this special place in my heart, without also thinking of the disparity in experience between myself and many marginalized people, particularly LGBTQ+ people, who were not given the same safe haven that I was. My heart breaks in light of this revelation. Sometimes, I feel like I was lied to, like the place I thought was home was really more broken than it let on. But the thing is that, whatever fault lines, or weaknesses there may be in the seams, the mindful purpose to integrate faith and learning, to protect the oppressed, to speak out when silence beckons, is still alive and well in the community at Gordon.
We will always be pushed to be silent when we encircle the great halls of power, demanding change, but we know that true Love, true Grace, true Freedom comes from our voices, sharing our hearts, embracing each other in times of weakness, and lifting one another up. That is the greatest lesson that I learned from my time at Gordon, and despite its many flaws, I still believe that there is hope for this place I once called home. I send so many prayers of love and light to my friends who are attending Homecoming, and know that I stand in solidarity with you as we continue to demand transformative justice.