Who are you afraid of? So often we don’t accept people because we are afraid of them… we don’t know or understand them. Throughout the Easter season, Jesus encouraged his followers “Do not be afraid.” Perhaps, if we take Jesus’ advice and get to know someone we don’t understand, we will be blessed.
Sr. Luisa Derouen shares her experience of getting to know a transgender woman named Dawn and it’s made a profound impact on her life. (Sr. Barbara Kane, O.P.)
One of the first transgender persons I got to know well was Dawn. She knew of me from a transgender friend, but was afraid to speak with me. Twice, as a child of five and again when she was eleven, she was warned that God had made her a boy and it was very sinful for her to think otherwise. She was terrified of speaking with another religious professional. Finally, one day she mustered the courage to call and said she wanted to talk. She got to my house about 11:00 am. She was visibly very nervous, but as we talked she gradually relaxed and opened her life to me bit by bit. We, mostly she, chatted till almost noon. I invited her to the table while I got our lunch together and put everything out. We prayed in thanksgiving to God for the food and for all the ways that God sustains and nourishes us.
Then she began again telling her story right where she left off. I eventually started eating but was aware that she had not yet even picked up her fork. After about fifteen minutes, I said “Dawn, you haven’t taken a single bite yet. Please, help yourself!” Her response touched me deeply and I remember it precisely. “I’m not hungry for food. I’m just hungry to talk and have someone listen to me who is really listening and not judging me.” I assured her that she could take as much time as she wanted and she could tell me as much as she wanted, and I would listen.
How ironic that in our media savvy world, it’s so hard to find someone who will listen with the heart and ears of God. She wants nothing more than to be faithful to God and faithful to who she knows herself to be. She thought those two couldn’t go together. But truth always leads us to God, never away from God.
Is there someone you to listen to and not judge?