On a personal note:

I have a cousin who once was a beautiful sprite of a girl. I can see her still in my mind after so many years.

That little girl is gone. Not just all-grown-up, but really gone–transformed into a man.

I say this because the man who is my cousin encountered hate tonight. Hate in the form that hate so often comes in–ignorance and foolishness.

During a late-night shopping trip a young man called my cousin an offensive name. He used words to convey his unwillingness to see either the man in front of him or the beautiful child I remember. Not ok.

But “young,” “stupid,” and “clownish” cannot mask for me the incipient threat in the young man’s words.

He dehumanized someone I love. Someone whose story matters to me.

Shouldn’t all of our stories matter?

After all, each one matters very much to God. The God who loves the man as much as the little girl.