Finding a Light in the Darkness

a-light-in-the-darkness-1-of-1As the misty, morning light edged into my consciousness, the waking nightmare seeped in beside it. I reached immediately for my phone, for a connection to the outside world, comfort. My husband is off in New Zealand on business. Squinting at the phone through sleep and tear crusted eyes, I found first a letter of condolence from a dear friend in Scotland. His dry wit even in the face of this tragedy allowed me to start the day with a smile and a chortle before the tears returned.

I was uplifted when I opened Facebook and saw hopeful messages there. People are mourning, as I am, and they are asking, “how can I help to make this better?” This is a frightening turn of events; a hate mongering, racist, misogynist, xenophobe is actually president of our United States, and a whole lot of hate mongering, racist, misogynist, xenophobes put him there. That’s the real scary part, that there are that many out there. I think of my friends of color, my Muslim friends, and those in the LGBTQ community, and imagine how much more compounded their fear must be.

And yet, we have to keep going. We don’t have to sit back and accept this, watch our world crumble, and give over to the despair and hate. The question is, “how do we make a difference?” I want some kind of concrete plan, a to-do list of tasks I can complete and when the list is all checked off the world will be a brighter place. My in-box is so full of emails exhorting me to take action, sign the petition for this cause, donate money for that one. I find it all so overwhelming.

As I read those thoughtful posts in my Facebook feed, I’m reminded that it is love and compassion for others that will pull us through this and create a better world for us all. Just as humans are soft, malleable creatures, so too is our path forward. Yes, we need to sign petitions and donate money, services, time as we can, but we need to spread love too. The way forward is in each individual interaction with our fellow creatures. Just as hate and enmity spreads, so too does love. I have to believe that today. Isn’t that the American can-do spirit? The attitude that made our country great? We can do this. For fuck’s sake let us do this.

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Love Rules

Moudi and Derek (1 of 1)
I am so thrilled today to learn that the 10th Circuit Court in Denver has ruled Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional!  As I write this, I have tears streaming down my face and snot running out of my nose.  This isn’t an abstract idea for me; people I care about are affected by the ruling.  I believe that their right to marriage can only make the world a better place.  The love of two committed individuals cannot possibly endanger my own marriage or that of anyone else.  In fact, I believe having more, strong, committed marriages strengthens the institution.

In March 2013, three couples filed suit challenging Utah’s discriminatory Amendment 3, banning same-sex marriage.  They were: Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity, Karen Archer and Kate Call, Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge.  In December of last year, U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby struck down the ban.  I was amazed at the time.  I mean, Utah?  Really?  But then, Utah being Utah immediately appealed to the court for a stay that was granted on January 6.  During that time about 1300 couples were married.  Although Utah tried its best to deny those marriages, U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball ordered the marriages would be recognized.

Then this last April, the three couples traveled to Denver along with many supporters to have their case heard by the 10th Circuit Court.  We’ve been holding our breath since then to hear the decision.  Today we all breathed a huge sigh of relief!  It makes me so happy to see the constant Facebook notifications of people celebrating this historic moment.  I think there is hope for this world afterall:)