The above quote is how I am choosing to teach my children to go forward in the world in the wake of these tragic events that keep plaguing our world. The alternative is to lock them away forever. Yesterday, something terrible happened at the Boston Marathon as the rest of us sat helplessly and watched it all unfold from across the country and across the world. We watched horrified as the unspeakable happened to unsuspecting runners, loved ones cheering them on and Bostonians celebrating Patriot’s day. In the blink of an eye, two bombs exploded, injuring over 170 people and killing 3, including an 8-year-old boy, Martin Richard, who was watching the Boston Marathon with his mother, father and 6-year-old sister. He was killed and his family was critically injured.His sister, lost her leg in the explosion. I have my own 8 and almost 6-year-old, I know all too well how small and fragile those small children are and the thought of something bad happening to them stops me cold and keeps me awake at night.
I posted about the explosions live because I felt so helpless that it was the only way I could process it and feel like I was helping others by keeping them updated. I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin. I just wanted to hug my girls and never let them go. All the fear and vulnerability of 9/11 came flooding back and overwhelmed me. The fear that left me frozen and helpless when I heard of the Sandy Hook events, that came back too. I felt emotionally held hostage by terrorists. I don’t give a shit who did it, they terrorized an entire nation; they are terrorists.
I got mad. Angry that people were dying in our streets, like it was a war zone. Children were hurt. A. Child. Has. Died! Parents are left with empty arms and permanent voids in their hearts. This was particularly hard for me to swallow being that my own Bella just turned 8. All I could think of all night was how empty my life would be without her smile in it, or the sweet sound of her voice calling me mommy. Then I thought of all the things, I would miss in her life if I lost her now. I would miss the first boyfriend, prom, college, her wedding, her children and the chance to be her friend someday; to see the amazing woman that she will become. Martin Richard’s parents will never know these things.
People came from all over the world to run in this once in a lifetime race and just at the point of success, when you let your guard down and you begin to rejoice with the finish line in sight, they were struck down. It was intentionally cruel and that enraged me.
I lashed out. I wanted the world to be still and solemn with their heads bowed in prayer for Boston out of respect for those affected. The entire situation felt like being given a terminal diagnosis. It was happening and we couldn’t do anything about it. The only thing we could do was choose how to react to it.
I was angry at the situation. I was angry at the indescribable vulnerability that I felt. I was angry that we were victims; that once again, we are made to feel like the world is a bad place and our children are not safe in it. I don’t want to live in a world where my child can be raped, killed or murdered at any time but that is the reality we live in. There are a lot of bad people doing bad things to good people.
Then I was reminded that while there are a few bad people, there are a lot more good people. Unsung heroes, who run in when others are running out, people who give of themselves to help others. There were runners who ran past the finish line and directly to the hospital to donate blood. Strangers gave food and shelter to those who were displaced. Strangers comforted one another. There were restaurants feeding those with no money. Boston and the world pulled together to lift our fallen brother up.
There are people who randomly perform acts of kindness every day for perfect strangers for no other reason than they are compelled by their own kind and good hearts. These are the helpers of the world. They are angels in the making. I’ve known a few of these people in my life. They are amazing and we don’t appreciate them nearly as much as we should and we never celebrate them. We need to focus on that. Focus on the good in world or we will drown in all the darkness during times like these.
Today, I will not allow myself to believe that the world is filled with bad people. There are only a few and we, the good people of the world, need to remember that. Extend kindness to a stranger today; we can all use a little sunshine in our lives, especially today. Smile at a stranger. Hold the door open for an elderly person. Give your seat on the bus to a pregnant mother. Remind your children of the good in the world. Tell them to look for the helpers in the world; they are there, you only need to look for them.