In 2013, we aren’t always very patient.
Fax machines aren’t fast enough, so we scan and then email whatever it is. And the email better be there in the blink of an eye (or faster), or we will be looking for a new service provider.
We don’t want to get dressed to go to the ATM to deposit a check, so we can scan it on our smart phone and the funds go right into our bank account.
We stand in front of the microwave and yell “hurry!” (Well, at least I do, but don’t tell anyone.)
For the LGBT community in the United States, and really around the world if you think about it, this week, beginning with today (Tuesday) marks a most amazing milestone in history. The Supreme Court (as I’m sure you know) will be hearing arguments surrounding overturning Proposition 8 here in California (defining married as between a man and a woman only), and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). But for all the pomp and circumstance in the media over the next couple of days, a decision on both points is not expected until late June.
We want it to be done. We want loving couples across America (and really around the world) to be able to express their commitments to each other in public, and receive the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as everyone else.
So what can we do while we wait for the Supreme Court’s decision?
Yes, we can observe, and perhaps get angry and frustrated about, the other side’s ridiculous arguments. (To me, the bottom line is equal protection under the law — the Fourteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution. If I cannot marry my same-sex partner, the same way an opposite-sex couple can, then I am being denied equal protection under the law. Period, the end. But I know — I am preaching to the choir, as it were.)
But I suggest that instead, we can take a higher view. If we think about it, it is pretty amazing that we are even having this conversation. Look at how far we’ve come. It’s only been 44 years since the Stonewall Riots in New York City, the event largely regarded as a catalyst for the LGBT movement for civil rights. (Read more on The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights website.) In those days, there weren’t many places where people could be openly gay, even in New York City.
And it was only 26 years ago when my husband and I attended our first Pride parade in San Diego. There was a large contingency of Fundamentalist Christians (not so fondly referred to as “fundies”) picketing our very existence. They just blended into the crowd at last year’s parade. (Or maybe they just decided to finally come out of the closet and march with the rest of us. Hmmm.)
What if we allowed ourselves to look back in gratitude, as we see more and more movement toward tolerance, and then acceptance, in so many parts of the world.
And what if we allowed ourselves to feel the amazing sense of belonging when we remember President Barack Obama’s remarks about the LGBT community, in the awareness that for the first time in history, the president is really our president.
Yes, we want it all right now. But we will be patient.
I was reminded of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., quoting an old African-American slave preacher: “Lord, we ain’t what we want to be. We ain’t what we ought to be. We ain’t what we gonna be. But thank God we ain’t what we was.”
We can look back on how far we’ve come, and just say, “wow.” And gratitude feels really good.
Take care of yourself.
The Rev. Jerry Troyer, a native of San Diego, is the senior minister of Joyful Living Church, a non-denominational New Thought spiritual community. He is the author of the new book, “Coming Out To Ourselves … Admitting, Accepting And Embracing Who We Truly Are. Troyer and his husband, also named Jerry, live in the San Diego area with their golden retriever Roxie. Visit his website HERE.