Today is a beautiful, historic day— a day that, if our social media feeds are to be believed, has reduced even the hardest cynics to gooey puddles of warm rainbows and hugs. It’s one of those days that makes us proud of humanity as a whole.
And yet. We’re also, as a country and as a species, in the midst of horrible tragedy. That doesn’t diminish the good that has happened today. But to be full, conscionable members of this community of human beings, we have to acknowledge that there is still immense suffering surrounding our joy. Today, Barack Obama gave a eulogy at the funeral of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the pastor of the Charleston church that was attacked by a racist terrorist last week. Obama spoke of Pinchney:
We are here today to remember a man of God who lived by faith. A man who believed in things not seen. A man who believed there were better days ahead, off in the distance. A man of service who persevered knowing full well he would not receive all those things he was promised, because he believed his efforts would provide a better life for those who followed.And then something truly beautiful happened. The president launched into what appeared to be an impromptu rendition of “Amazing Grace.”
Watching the crowd leaping to their feet, overcome with surprise and emotion— the moment came out of tragedy, but is a spectacularly beautiful thing.