A meditation on Psalm 31
I am the scorn of all my adversaries,
a horror to my neighbors,
an object of dread to my acquaintances;
those who see me in the street flee from me.
I have passed out of mind like one who is dead;
I have become like a broken vessel.
For I hear the whispering of many—
terror all around!—
as they scheme together against me,
as they plot to take my life.
When I read this passage in the context of the Alleluia Fund, my mind instantly went to the large and tidy house in East Orange where up to a dozen homeless LGBT young adults find shelter every night. There are 11 proper beds; If the house is full, the 12th person sleeps on a fold-out couch – still safer and more comfortable than the ground under a bridge.
Many of these 18 to 26-year-olds have been rejected by their families, and some have been treated badly on the street or in other shelters. Many of them are transgender – the portion of the LGBT community that remains most vulnerable to society’s scorn.
In addition to providing a safe and dry place to sleep, the Essex County LGBT RAIN Foundation (Reaching Adolescents In Need) works with young people to devise plans for healthy relationships, stable housing and employment. For the longer-term residents, the house provides a sense of community that some of them have never had.
In this cycle, the Alleluia Fund made grants to two dozen organizations, all of them worthy, and we wish we had more money to give. My heart sings “Alleluia”, knowing that these young people will have a safe place tonight. Our grant support may well have saved a young person’s life.