when love wins: how marriage equality + forgiveness in charleston have changed us

marriage equality has come to the US!

Supreme Court Hears Arguments In Historic Marriage Equality Case

i’ve been dying to write this post.

i meant to do it yesterday, but i am so glad that i didn’t. i needed a little perspective. i needed to let it sink it a bit. though, i’m not sure it has really sunk in yet. in any case, had i written this post on friday, or even yesterday (saturday), it would have been a crazy, emotional celebration.

and, of course, it is a crazy, emotional celebration today too. but, it is also grounded in some deeper reflections and thoughts and feelings.

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here’s my overwhelmed, crying like a baby, i am so excited look. just after receiving the news.

so, here’s what went down. as you know, the supreme court ruled on friday that all americans have the right to get married. (woo hoooooo!) heterosexual + homosexual, lgbtq + straight. it doesn’t matter who you are. it is your basic human right, supported by the constitution of the united states of america, to marry the person you love.

and suddenly, with that decision issued by the supreme court in a stunning opinion offered on friday morning, lgbtq citizens were no longer second class citizens. and same sex marriages, which had taken place in states (or countries) that had already made marriage equality a real thing, were now recognized all across the country.

so my international marriage to my incredible swedish wife was also now recognized – everywhere in my home country + everywhere in hers! we are now legal in both of the countries we call home.

i mean, seriously. this is huge. with one beautifully crafted statement, everything changed.

just read this + see for yourself how justice kennedy worded it:

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

as i watched and refreshed about 4 different websites on my computer friday, waiting with bated breath like the rest of america, not even knowing if a ruling would be announced on the marriage equality case, i began shaking as the clock neared 4 pm (swedish time. 10 am eastern time).

i was all alone in my apartment on a sunny swedish afternoon. texting with my love, who was now watching a live video that i had sent her. i think that some of her colleagues were even curious about it.

quickly, just after 4 (10am eastern time), the decision came. and immediately the celebrations started. it all felt real and surreal at the same time. completely unbelievable. freeing. and i was filled with all kinds of pride. an historic moment for equal rights once again changed the course of american history – and i got to experience this in my lifetime.

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but, what does all of this mean?

well, if you are interested, you can read my blog post a week ago about waiting for this historic decision, and what the fight for marriage equality has meant to me and my love. our journey and experiences of being a bi-national, same-sex couple.

but, today, with my two-day perspective, i have much deeper thoughts than just marriage equality. of course i am overjoyed, thrilled beyond belief, freaking out, wishing i could have been in the states this weekend to experience first-hand the celebrations in my hometown, and so very grateful for this life-changing, seriously, life-changing decision.

but, today, i have moved past what this means to me and the other lgbtq citizens of the US, and i have moved on to what it means to us as human beings. but, i’m not just talking marriage equality, friends, i am talking love. and justice. and unity.

i am talking about the grace and unity that is sweeping across the united states right now.

i am talking about this special, magical, beautiful moment in american history when things seem to suggest that there is hope. that the dream of creating a society + a world of peace and justice really is possible.

if you pause for just a minutes. reflect. and breathe deep, then you can almost feel the magic. you can almost feel the page turning in history and a new era beginning.

the past 12 days in the states have been unlike anything most of us have seen in a long time, if ever.

americans have gone from shock + sadness + anger because of the charleston massacre of nine people in their african methodist episcopal church to a celebration of the equality of love and the inspiration to keep fighting to ensure justice and equality for all people.

// light (and forgiveness) out of darkness //

for me, and for many, the turning point came just 2 days after the shootings in charleston, when the families of the victims gathered in the courtroom + made statements of forgiveness to the shooter.

forgiveness, people.

the victims’ familes’ gift of unconditional grace to the shooter who murdered their loved ones gave the country + the world the inspiration needed to begin to ponder putting aside differences and, instead, coming together in hope + peace.  many began to talk about uniting instead of dividing.

it was mind-boggling how people who had suffered such loss could dig down deep in their souls, rely on their faith, unknowing + not even understanding, and offer words of hope + forgiveness. showing us all what true faith looks like. what real strength is.

// love instead of hate //

and then, in the next few days, the community of charleston gathered together to walk and rally and hug and cry and worship together. showing us, again, what it means to live a life centered in love, not in hate. in working towards reconciliation instead of riots.

by tuesday, a mere 6 days after the shooting, i was touched to my soul and overflowing with overwhelming pride and hope. and i poured out my pride and reflections in a blog post. (you can read it –> here).

// equal dignity in love + filled with grace //

and then, after a shocking supreme court ruling in favor of obama’s healthcare program on thursday, friday came with it’s amazing marriage equality ruling and the celebration that the united states had become just a little bit more united (as president obama said himself).

as people all over the states, and all over the world, began to celebrate this super historical day, in chalreston, south carolina, the president was to give the eulogy (memorial speech) for the pastor who was killed in the charleston church just 10 days before.

that turned out to be an an incredible, amazing moment as the president challenged all americans (and humans, i’d say) to follow the footsteps of the victims’ families in living a life of love and forgiveness. of remembering the grace and courage and love that the victims and their families have shown the world. president obama made history by preaching with fire and passion, singing “amazing grace”, and leading everyone in not just remembering and honoring the victims, but calling to action every single one of us. reminding us to fight for unity.

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so, now, after 12 days and some pretty majorly historical + inspiring moments, here we are. broken down, shocked, excited, inspired, motivated. and just a little bit more united.

this, is what i celebrate today. i celebrate the freedom for all couples in america to unite in marriage. i celebrate the communities and people of charleston who have led us through tragedy, calling us to unite through forgiveness and love, instead of divide over differences and fears.

the past 12 days have taught us much.  suddenly it feels as if we have come so far. and yet, we know that we have so much further to go.

but, i am confident. i have found hope. i have seen forgiveness. i have felt ecstatic joy. i have wept. and i have felt ashamed + proud. i believe america has lived a lifetime throughout the past 12 days. we have been changed. through all of the pain and the commitments to justice, we have come out the other side of these 12 days poised to move forward.

it is my hope that, even as the naysayers, haters, discriminators, abusers, and negative commentators seek to tear us down and threaten to hurt us, we will fight on. and we will fight, as we have been taught by the families in charleston + the lgbtq advocates who have pursued a step towards equality for at least 4 decades, and as the president reminded us on friday… we will fight with grace. we will follow in the footsteps of all of those who have gone before to fight injustice with non-violence. our weapon will be love.

because isn’t that what life is really all about? isn’t that what ultimately we have learned, once again, in these past few historic days in america.

love always wins.

onwards + upwards! xoxo

* rainbow flag photos photos from google search

one little comment is all it takes.

i got a comment the other day from the mezz which touched me deeply. and i’ve been thinking alot about it ever since…

she said, in her comment, that she was glad that i had written a post where i did some complaining. that it reminded her that i am human, and that i have difficult times too.  i truly appreciate her comment. it made me feel free.

i focus so much on positive things here on my blog, and in life. i try my best to acknowledge the beauty, the positive, and the good in every day, even if every moment isn’t fabulous.

however, in the middle of all of the beauty & amazingness of life, i do have tough times. things don’t always go smoothly, and sometimes i feel overwhelmed, lost, sad, frustrated, and scared. i don’t always write about it here. but, every now & then, things just creep out onto my keyboard – like they are doing now.

whether you know it, remember it, or have never heard it, my love was in the hospital for 3 months this summer. it was a really tough & scary time for her. and for me. very tough & scary. in ways that i cannot even begin to describe. i wondered if i was going to lose her.   now she has been home for a while, but is still receiving treatment. we’re doing our best to live life, and i think we have been doing a pretty good job. but, lately, things have been getter harder.

i don’t feel like i’m being fake by posting positive, inspiring things. or by showing the amazing moments of our life, because there are tons of amazing moments. but, the tough stuff that we are dealing with right now, is real. it’s just that we choose to keep it private. on the other hand, i don’t want people to think that everything just moves along smoothly for me and i wake up feeling peace every day. because it doesn’t . and i don’t. as the mezz points out, i’m human. and shit happens.

however, i need inspiration & the positive vibes in my life. i want those things. i want to wake up & love life, not live with regrets or in fear. i want to suck every amazing thing out of life that i can. i need to remember to be aware of the beauty in life. and so, here, in my little place in cyberspace, i try to make a beautiful little corner that brings me joy & peace. and if i provide any joy or peace to anyone else along the way, then i am doubly blessed. you see, this place, this blog, heals me. writing fills me. it is my breath. one of my ways of meditating. of stripping away the negative and focusing on being true to myself & my soul.

i truly admire any of you who put your whole self out there, who bitch & complain, and vent & get pissed off, and share your deepest, darkest thoughts & feelings. sometimes i wonder about doing that. but, then, i remember my “niche”. and belovelive is all about being who i am. learning to love myself & others. and living life to the fullest. perhaps one day i’ll create another blog, or perhaps i will just add to this one. but, for now, this is who i am. this is how i write. and when there are tough times, i will either keep it to myself, or share it with you all… i will just let it happen naturally.

in the meantime, whatever positive vibes, prayers, or thoughts you might have for my little family right now would be greatly appreciated. i deeply thank you for your presence here, and for your willingness to stumble through all my words. and i am so grateful for the comments i receive. your thoughtful words inspire me & push me to think more deeply than before. your presence influences me & touches me, reminding me that i am never alone.

as always, when there is something heavy on my heart, i face it head on. mediate on it. write about it (privately or otherwise), and talk though it with a trusted soul. but, i face it knowing that, bigger than the sadness or pain or uncertainty that i feel, the light always conquers the darkness. love always wins. there is always hope. and life remains beautiful. i have the complete joy of living this life, with all of its ups & downs, mountains & valleys, and soaking in the messiness and the perfection and everything in between that makes up this journey of mine.

and i know from deep within my soul that tomorrow is another day. another day to share with my love. another day to embrace & experience as much as possible.

another day to…

my heartfelt gratitude & warm wishes of peace to you all.

the sun is gonna shine.

there is one thing that you must know about me, and many of you do. i am a huge beatles fan. h.u.g.e. and, of course, john lennon is my fav (no offense to you other 3 beatles), for many reasons including his undying belief in peace, love, and creativity. still, the beatles as an entire group always touch my soul and make me feel something that i really can’t describe with words. i’m guessing that there are many people all over the world who understand what i’m saying.

i admit that i haven’t really kept up with the beatles’ solo careers (except of course i adore john lennon’s solo/duo career with yoko ono). but, every now and then something catches my attention. and that leads me to this post…

i ran across this on the beatles Facebook page this morning. it is beautiful. the music. the video. the two people (natalie portman & johnny depp are truly 2 of my favorite actors). the instruments. the lyrics. it is something to just soak in.

this is for you, my baby. my life, my everything. my valentine. i love you.

find a beatles song to listen to today that inspires you. and keep the faith that one day, the sun will shine again. and if you have been blessed with someone to share life with, cherish every little moment together. oh, and one last thing, love always wins.

peace. love. understanding. and rainbows.

the love of my life.

i’ve always thought that love conquers all, that love can be strong enough to keep hope alive & make all things well. i still believe that. only now that i am a bit older and wiser, i know that love cannot do it alone. love needs patience, trust, hope, and commitment by her side in order to win. luckily, i have found that kind of love in my life. it is my overwhelming joy to share love, patience, trust, hope, and commitment with my wife, my everything. sometimes the road forward is not easy, but i am filled with hope because of our  love. sometimes the journey is filled with beautiful moments of bliss, and i am left breathless. to share the dark moments, the scary moments, and the breath-taking, heart-pounding, sunshine-y moments with someone… that, for me, is love. that is life. and this love, this life, is a gift that i have been given. you can be sure i do not take the love that has found me for granted for one second. i cling to it. i celebrate it. and i commit myself to nurturing it over & over again, every day. come what may.

 “the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”

~ from moulin rouge 

sending love & peace to you tonight, dear readers.