I’m always talking about moving. Moving forward, moving on, moving past… but there are those moments when there is no moving. There is almost no breath. This week’s tragic events at Boston was, for many of us, one of those times.
And this post isn’t about what happened in Boston. It’s not political or religious. It’s not a commentary on the media or the press.
It’s about what happened during and after for those of us who were witnesses from afar; not there in the fray. We watched the images unfold from a distance, the faces wrought with terror, friends and family’s safety unknown, images flooding the screen with bloody streets, the helpless carted away, the cries of the frightened, confused, and hurt. It’s about the moments when we feel helpless.
I tell my girls as they come home from school to the images on the TV…This is one of those moments when what is seen can’t be unseen. It doesn’t feel real and nothing seems as it should be. We are shocked, horrified, unsure of where we are now and where we will be going. We forget everything but what is happening in the right now… hundreds of miles away.
Silently, my daughter watched the screen and I could see her physically change. Her shoulders dropped, her body withdrew inward, shrinking in response to the suffering, her eyes wet with tears of empathy, of fear, of disbelief. And she had no words in response but a soft but incredulous, “Mom…why?”
And I didn’t give her an answer then, because there isn’t one that satisfies. I took her hand, I pulled her close and I said instead, “Wait. Be still.”
And we were. From our family room we saw runners who finished a marathon continue running – to hospitals to give blood. We saw strangers helping strangers. We saw first responders taking action and saving lives. We saw humanity, in its darkest of hours rushing forth despite danger to give aid, to give comfort, to give hope. We saw the strength of a city, the resolve of a running community mobilize and unite. We saw runners all over the country begin to plan immediately how they would offer assistance, how they would help, how they would honor and pay tribute. We saw an outpouring of love and selflessness emerge from the shadow of the destruction.
And it didn’t make what happened go away, but like a wall it rose up to meet the wave of horror and not let it break through. The tragedy was met with strength, kindness, and conviction.
That Monday night as I tucked my girls into bed I said, “Taylor, are you afraid of what happened today?”
She paused, and I know that she was thinking hard before she answered. She said, “A little. But as bad as people can be to each other, there are always more that will do whatever they can to try to make it right or at least make it better. It’s what we do.”
And that’s the answer. Time to move again.