What 2 Things Do Marriage, Charleston, And ISIS Have In Common?

On the morning of June 26th, 2015, I awoke to a truly beautiful sight. Moments before my alarm went off, SCOTUS passed a federal ruling allowing fair and equal marriage for all genders in our nation. Shortly after, a phrase resonated throughout the people, for the people, and the motto ?Love Wins? was now proudly sung, through gripped throats, hopeful lips, and teary eyes, as marriage finally became what it should have always been: a nationally recognized right.

Image Via Flickr

Just south of this ruling, and just a few hours after the announcement, President Barack Obama landed in Charleston, South Carolina to deliver the eulogy at the funeral of Rev. Clementa Pinckney. Though the attendees knew they would be in for a beautiful speech, as Obama always delivers, nobody expected the President to end his remarks with a rendition of ?Amazing Grace? that would bring the entire church to their feet and a nation to its knees.

In this same day, an ocean away from us, a clean-up was being performed on a beach in Tunisia where at least 38 individuals were killed, and another 36 were wounded. A man was beheaded just before the same attacker caused an explosion at a chemical plant in France, and a terrorist plot that left at least 25 dead and over 200 injured unraveled in Kuwait. All three events have been declared as terrorist attacks, and ISIS has claimed responsibility of two, claiming that it is ?just the beginning.?

So, what do marriage, Charleston, and ISIS have in common? Each of these events represents one day of media coverage, and collectively, they represent the current state of society as it affects each of us. It seems that we are making progress in certain aspects of our society every day, and at the same time, we are facing struggles that have plagued us for decades, while also coming face-to-face with newer and deadlier threats each day.

On the morning of June 26th, 2015, I awoke to a truly beautiful sight, and later that day, I saw a sight of sadness and heartache, and all the while, another of fear and terror. What I reflected on at the day’s end was that we, as a nation, have won on one front, but as a people of a global society, we face many more battles.

Sometimes, love wins. I had more pride in my country yesterday than I have had for America in my entire life.

Sometimes, racism wins, and in the form of domestic terrorism, nine people lost their lives. We are to remember that they opened up their parish to a stranger, and though that stranger had malicious intentions, they welcomed him with love and grace. Their families, subsequently, forgave this man and showed love and grace. And by this notion, I think that it’s safe to say that, sometimes, love wins.

Emanuel AME Church
Charleston, South Carolina
Image Via Flickr

Sometimes, terrorism wins. A glamorous beachfront turns red with the blood of innocent bystanders, an explosion is caused with the intent of violence in France, and a bomb is set off in a place of worship in Kuwait. In this instance, I’m not sure if love will ever win. But, then I remember where I was the day that the twin towers were attacked on September 1st, 2001.

I was just a kid. My mother pulled me and my brother out of school, and we went home. We watched the day unfold, desperately tried to reach family we knew working in Manhattan that day, and we waited. The days continued as so many lives were put on hold, waiting and sifting through the rubble.

A nation was wounded as a city was crushed. Most of us were unsure that we could ever recover or that love would ever win again.

Almost 14 years later, I can say that life truly will never be the same after any of these tragic events, but that over time, little bits of love win. Slowly we regain our strength and recover, and we can act in love and grace. It’s the slow ebb and flow of loss and victory that eventually build us toward a better future, a better America, and a better world.

Love doesn’t always win, but when it does, it is glorious.

“Rainbow over Downtown Manhattan”
One World Trade Center Freedom Tower
Image Via Flickr

K.C. Cashman, a student at Hofstra University, studies English and American Literature, Writing Studies, and Religion. K.C. was born and raised on Long Island, New York and continues to live there with her family. She aspires to be a published author, professor of literature and writing, and an administrator of higher education and policies.