I was enchanted. Years ago at Higher Ground, a young child of about five was trying to make sense of the space her mother visited most days. There were a lot of people and they didn’t look anything alike but they hugged, laughed, sang, prayed and ate together like some kind of family reunion. Plus, people just came and went and wandered and raided the fridge and there was a dog that didn’t seem to belong to anybody. Finally, sitting in the living room after the meal, the little girl put her foot down.“Whose house is this!?”she demanded.
Her mother smiled. “It’s everybody’s house,” she said.
Her daughter smiled, too, but still looked as confused as most of the world over spaces of such radical welcome. Imagine again a home (imagine offices!) where belonging comes hand-in-hand with breathing; where All Are Welcome really does mean None Are Excluded; where the “us” is so wildly inclusive there is never a need for a “them.”
Such commitments are crucial to realizing the world we envision and work toward daily – one where HIV and the unjust stigma and systems that fuel its spread are no more. Of course, the fact is that all people are not merely welcome – all are necessary; and this means bringing the whole of ourselves to the table: thought, word, deed… and (you know what’s coming) finances. Hate and fear have always fueled HIV; your gifts fuel the response.
For your companionship over another year of trial and hope, thank you. For the belonging you will extend over the months and years ahead, bless you.
With all gratitude and blessings,