I have to admit I forgot that the marathon was happening two days ago in Boston. Months ago, Lauren and I happily supported the cause for which our dear friend was running the Boston Marathon, but then I did what the rest of us do….I got caught up in what was happening in our own circles. My handheld device beeped in the early afternoon and I was reminded there was a race because two winners were announced. They finished in an outlandishly short amount of time and I then remembered that our friend, Eric had written that he expected to finish at about “four hours and a few minutes”.
Then, a couple of hours later, every device I own beeped to announce that two bombs exploded at the Finish Line of the a race.
At first, I experienced a mild form of existential vertigo. There was a sense of déjà vu I had not felt since the events of September 11, 2001. I do not compare the two events in terms of enormity both in terms of loss of life and shear degree of destruction. But I experienced that spiritual and emotional chill that I felt down my back over a decade ago.
I could not help, but to first fear for my dear friend, who I realized predicted his finish the same time the bombs exploded. Lauren was already on it and somehow, we received word over email that I am, “okay, but freaked”. I was relieved for him, but was frightened to see on screen what it was that made him “freaked”. My imagination ran wild. I wondered how many were killed; how many were maimed; how many lives would be forever changed. I wondered and I worried and I prayed for those out to celebrate an age-old, Boston tradition, but instead had their lives punctuated with terror. There is no way their lives will ever be the same: Those who were directly hit; those who saw it all; those who could have been hit and somehow for some reason were not. All of them will never be the same. And, on a smaller scale, we too, once again, will not be the same.
We have no idea yet who committed this cowardly act. I believe in our law enforcement officials. We need to let them do their work and we should be patient and lend them our support.
In the meanwhile, our job is to be thankful that we live in a free country. That freedom comes at a precious cost, but we need to celebrate our freedom daily. This is also a time which reminds us to hold our loved ones….we need to embrace them, tell them we love them; and take the opportunity to reconcile with those with whom we know we need to be connected.
Our fear cannot paralyze us. I say above that I am frightened. There are insane people who have no compunction about taking innocent life. But terrorism wins when we stay at home. We have to be prudent, but at the same time, we need to live our lives fully. We should go to the movies, malls, stadiums and run marathons. We should help our law enforcement officials by adding extra eyes to their complicated jobs. Their jobs are not only complicated, but once again, I am heartened to have watched them do what is counterintuitive for most of us. While, most would legitimately run away, they ran towards the explosion. Police, firefighters and brave citizens saved lives while they risked their own. In the midst of the darkness, their bravery can give us a sense of light and hope when it still feels dark.
This morning, as Jake and I watched SportsCenter, he wanted to know why there was an emblem which showed the hated Red Sox next to the Yankees emblem, especially when, “we are not even playing the Red Sox this week”. I explained that opponents in sports are not enemies, they are just opponents. The enemies are the ones who robbed us of more innocence this week. It’s too bad because it would be lovely if the enemies in our world could simply be the teams we play from other cities. But life is indeed more complicated than that. So, I told him that for a while, we don’t have to root for the Red Sox, but we will certainly root for Boston to heal…or as some have said, for a while, we can say Boston is us and we are Boston. They are hurting and it is our job to help them and our country heal. In turn, we too, will heal.
I quote the leader of our Movement when I say: “We are reminded that the Holy One has implanted within us the power of healing. As individuals and as communities, may we be sources of God’s healing presence. May we heal each other. May we heal this world.”