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  • Rebecca Branle

Hate Has No Home Here

I wonder what you thought your little gift would do. Did you think it would scare us, or that we'd read it and say, "Man, this fella has a point. We shall change our 'libral' ways!" Did you put a lot of thought into the messages you wrote on each side? "Gays will Burn in Hell," "BLM are Terrorists," "You can Repent," "Look Behind You." Did you feel aroused when you threw it at our barn? Did it feel good?

That's the thing about hate. It can feel like a release when you let it out, especially when you're dead inside. Sometimes, the hate is the only thing that makes you feel alive, but after that high...the hate you spread seeps deeper into your soul and long after you throw out your message, you're stuck with it. The poison. I'm sorry you feel that way. I'm sorry you're broken. But here's the thing, we're not.

So, tonight, we'll read with our kids. We'll watch them fall asleep and when we lay our heads on our pillows, we'll sleep just fine. Because we're immune to your hate. It can't hurt us and it can't change our views. We'll still choose love, always love, and we'll still sit on our porch and look out over the green grass and the meadows and we'll still love our home. We'll still wave to neighbors and take our dogs for walks and jump on the trampoline with our kids and do our best to honor the history of this old house. We'll still be happy here.

Maybe you think our barn is about agitation, that we want to get a rise out of you. Hear me: it's not about you. These signs are messages of love. Their only purpose is to reach someone who feels alone, living here, and to tell them that they're accepted and loved and supported and lifted up, just as they are. Just as they were born to be.

So go ahead and throw out your marble message of hate (or shout obscenities at me and my children or flick off my husband). Go ahead. But know that it doesn't change a thing for us, it just changes you. Because you can't do something this hateful and not grow a little darker, a little sicker, and a little more broken.

James Baldwin said, "I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain."

I guess I just want to ask you to acknowledge your pain, to sit with it, to work on healing it, and then to choose love.

Always love.

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