26 June 2015

Something I Thought was for Other People

Today is a historic day.  This morning the SCOTUS ruled that same-sex marriage is constitutional and that states do not have the right to declare otherwise.  I didn’t really expect to see this happen – same-sex marriage legal across the entire country – in my lifetime.  Tears are spilling over as I write this, which surprises me.  I knew that I believed this to be right and good in my heart, but I am shocked at my relief and happiness regarding this decision.

All morning I watched as positive reactions filled my Facebook page.  But probably the most poignant of all was this one, from a dear college friend:

It affected me deeply, but not so much because it shows how it feels when a barrier comes crashing down, which in itself is huge.  Barriers are rarely toppled so decisively.  With a few notable exceptions, like the literal and symbolic barrier of the Berlin Wall coming down, barriers generally come down in such small increments that one day we look up and finally realize that they’re now, somehow, much more surmountable. 

But that’s not why this post, especially, brought me to tears.  This ruling was the removal of a veil and a gag, enabling love and marriage to be a vision that anyone of us can now see as our option.  Think of how seeing yourself as part of a scene allows you to play your role.  This is everything.  Think of the young girls today who can envision themselves as engineers, physicians, astronauts, rather than the limited number of career options available to them a couple generations ago.  Think of children of color who can envision themselves today receiving the education they deserve, free from segregation.  Think of two people in love who can now share the rights and privileges today’s ruling finally permits.

Unless and until you can see yourself as part of the picture, you can’t know how far your dreams extend, how much you can accomplish, that what we can barely fathom in our dreams can indeed come to pass.  This is why MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech still resonates today.  He was planting a vision of a better world in our collective dreams.  Today we moved closer to that dream of equality, which is perhaps even more stirring after the darkness behind last week’s attack in Charleston moved us away from it.

A memory:  When I put on my first pair of glasses as a young girl, I could distinctly see what previously had been blobs and blurs.  I saw with new eyes a new world:  images and words all at once in focus, sharp and clear.  And I was filled with wonder.  This day, yes, feels like that:  filled with wonder and joy that at times we can see tangibly that love is indeed stronger than hate.