The thunder of a spring storm is echoing through my house today and lightening streaks across the sky. My dog is curled at my feet, a shivering pile of fur clinging to me, her eyes wide with fear.
I understand this kind of fear, this type of anxiety that pervades and consumes.
Yesterday, the city of Boston was attacked. The Boston Marathon, usually a joyous event, was horribly interrupted by the detonation of bombs and the taking of lives. Many major American cities were placed on high alert. We are, every one of us, still scrambling to process an event that can’t be understood. Families are grieving the very real loss and injury of sons and daughters, parents and grandparents.
I am struggling to write this blog post. I wonder if I should write anything at all.
I am trying to pray – Lord, have mercy – but words fail me. I remember other acts of violence: September 11. Sandy Hook Elementary. Oklahoma City. Columbine High School. Virginia Tech. I think of how these words are instantly recognizable in a horrible way to everyone who hears them. And I feel the anxiety which pervades and consumes.
I feel the urge to do something, anything, to contribute in some way. In this, I am not alone. People everywhere are asking, “How can I help?” “What can I give?” People volunteer to give blood or send money. Strangers open their homes and hearts to the hurt and grieving. The heroic acts of First Responders and other bystanders provide balm to our national wounds.
I don’t live in close physical proximity to Boston, so I watch the news and pray. I know millions of others watch and pray also.
I hugged my kids harder and longer today. When Brian left the house, I made certain to say “I love you” and stood in the door frame to watch him drive away. I thought of my family and friends, who are spread out all over this country, from sea to sea, and I offered a prayer for them that they might know peace today and every day.
I’m only one person. I can’t bring about world peace or halt terrorism. But I’m not helpless, and I refuse to believe the world is hopeless.
America grieves and so do I. But I also hope, and work, and pray for a better tomorrow. Martin Luther has been attributed with saying, “Even if I knew tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” I will keep “planting my apple trees” whether tomorrow is given to me or not. There is plenty I can do today.