Today marks the 50th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court decision overruling the state laws restricting interracial marriage.
I’ve talked about this subject before, yet it still hits a deep chord with me. A few months ago, I saw the indie film, Loving. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend taking the time to watch it. But, the part that broke me was one of the rawest scenes in the film. Richard, the husband, with his head in his wife’s lap, breaks down crying wondering why it was illegal for him, a white man, to love his wife, a black woman. The simplest dialogue then takes place:
Richard: (crying) I can take care of you.
Mildred: I know that.
Cue the waterworks.
From what I’ve been told, one of the deepest needs of a man in a relationship is to be able to take care of the person(s) he loves (wife, girlfriend, family). It’s at the core of what might even define a man. To see this scene depicted on screen, with such raw emotion, weighed heavy on my chest for some time even after the film ended. For him, it was the simplest thing–to love a woman. It didn’t matter that she was of a different race, he loved her and wanted to take care of her.
I can’t help but draw a connection of how God loves us and wants to take care of us. Yet we almost instinctively fight against it, every single time. I can come up with all the excuses in the world as to why not, but He’s still there.
His love is the simplest thing we can accept–because love wins.
* * *
This is a picture of my parents on their wedding day. April 12, 1987. There was a blizzard taking place outside of the church, but they still got married–AND recently celebrated 30 years of marriage. Over those 30 years, there has been a dog and cat (their first children, Maddie and Marshall, respectively), the birth of myself and Stefan–my brother, 6 state moves, multiple job and community changes, sending their children into adulthood, my mother being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, multiple knee (dad) and shoulder (mom) surgeries–I could go on, but I think you get it–they have a wonderful life together.
Without the persistence of Richard and Mildred Loving, I wouldn’t be here today. I’m so incredibly blessed with the life I have because of who my parents are, what they stand for and the example they set for my brother and I. I will never know all of their heartaches and struggles because they have provided such a wonderful life, one they didn’t necessarily get to have.
I remember my mom telling me the conversation she had with some of her family, after announcing her engagement to her family. It was also the simplest dialogue:
Christie: You can’t tell me who I love.
Just like that. I respect my family, even though I don’t know some of them because of the color of my skin. But that’s on them–and that’s another discussion for another time. The focus is on my parent’s relationship and how despite those obstacles, I still grew up knowing I was incredibly loved by them and the people in my life.
I’m proud to be the daughter of a bi-racial couple and part of a family where race wasn’t an issue. Did you know that my immediate relatives on my dad’s side of the family have all married outside of their race, including my brother to my soon-to-be sister-in-law? I’m also incredibly proud to live in a country, where 50 years ago it decided they were wrong. Though it hasn’t been easy for everyone in my family, my racial identity has never been made a big deal, nor will the race of whoever I might fall in love and want to spend the rest of my life with, and that I’m forever grateful to the men and women who fought for love, because love wins.