I have been on the road since May 30 on a cross country trip. My husband and I were in Charleston, S.C. on June 14, just a few days before the shooting. On Friday, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced the decision in Obergefell. That same day, President Obama delivered one of the most moving eulogy on the Charleston church massacre. He sang, "Amazing Grace."
I've been spending a lot of time in tears. The entire set of events particularly feels poignant, yet somehow sweet. I wept when I heard the news of the shooting. I wept when I watched the video of the victim's families say, "We forgive you." I wept when the SCOTUS decision came out giving every person the right to marriage.
Through these events, the word I keep returning to is "grace." I am not religious but I do have a regular meditation and spiritual practice. And I can't help but land on the phrase "but for the grace of God..."
None of us are immune from life's tragedies or grace. Had I been born 50 years ago, I would not have been able to marry my husband. (I'm Asian, he's white). I wrote this post on the Loving decision which states, "Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival." My husband and I will be celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary next week and there's such sweetness from knowing that just as our wedding is now legally recognized, so is everyone else's.
There's also much sorrow in knowing that had I been born under different set of circumstances, I could've been a victim to the shooting. We all could be.
When I heard President Obama sing "Amazing Grace," I looked up the lyrics. The song is about forgiveness and redemption. It suggests that forgiveness is possible regardless of sins committed. That's what grace is all about -- it's an unmerited mercy. The families of the victims modeled what grace is by showing grace to 21-year-old Dylann Roof, the shooter.
I can't help but feel that life is a continual chain of grace. Which is to suggest that so much of our life is determined by random set of circumstances, completely beyond our control or even knowing. It's the human condition. But for grace, any one of us could be celebrating our marriage or burying a loved one.
Despite this knowledge that suffering may be lurking around the corner, I have a deep sense of trust in grace. Grace from something far beyond myself. Grace from humanity. And perhaps this common thread that binds us -- this grace -- it's worth remembering.