After the Orlando shooting, I noticed my neighbors a few streets over had a large rainbow flag hanging from their porch. I don’t really know them, but I did recall briefly chatting with them years ago and finding out they were from Boston. They’d had a Boston Red Sox flag flying then.

But now it’s a large rainbow flag with the word PACE (Peace in Italian) in the middle. The first time I turned the corner in my car and I saw it I cried. There was something about seeing it unfurled in our suburban little neighborhood that just filled my heart.

So last night I went over and knocked on their door to tell them how much I appreciated it. When the dad/husband answered the door he smiled as I fumbled for my words. I was just trying to say thank you but kept getting choked up. He smiled with both his eyes and his mouth and then told me the flag had been given to them by an Italian foreign exchange student as a thank you gift long before the rainbow had the meaning it does now.

We had this incredible conversation, the kind you don’t usually have in Kansas the first time you meet someone. Politics. Guns. LGBTQ community. Grief. Heartbreak. As our voices quieted and our conversation ended, he asked if he could give me a hug.

So there we were hugging each other under the Rainbow Peace flag in our very suburban Johnson County Kansas neighborhood, holding space for a more loving and just world than the one we have now.

Sometimes when we are lucky, there is really no place like home.

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