A Response to the Boston Marathon

23 04 2013

Our country has seen some very dark days lately.  We’ve had a lot of things happen to us within the past week, more than we’ve ever had on our domestic soil in a long time.  My thoughts are with those affected in all of the events of the past week, and I do not gloss over the terrible tragedies and the incredible loss of life.  I do not gloss over the profound impact these events will have upon our country in the next few days.  That is not my point.  My thoughts are with all of those who have been impacted by these events.

So if I’m not going to talk about how horrible this event was, what is there else to talk about then?

Ha ha.  I’ve been in discourses lately with my students, I’ve been working with my colleagues, and I’ve taken in some of their remarks and responses, and I’ve really tried to bring all of these different perspectives to heart.  

Then, I got really angry yesterday.  Because the only thing that separates me and those two young men, are the actions I have done in my life.  Other than that, there is flesh, there is blood, and we are both loved by someone somewhere.  Other than that, there’s nothing that separates us, other than the actions we made.

I live by a higher standard.  That higher standard involves me getting rid of anger and rid of my frustration with other people.  I have this standard that says, if I even get a little bit mad at someone, it’s just as bad as committing murder.  Because for a moment, I’ve cast out all of the love I have in my heart for that person, and I’m just focused on being angry.  

The bombers of the Boston Marathon need my thoughts, my good vibes, more than anything right now.  Call me unpatriotic, call me too merciful…whatever you want to call me, but I cannot, in good conscience, condemn these two men for what they did.  In effect, it would be like condemning myself.  

We need grace in our society.  In our society, we’ve focus on the violence, and we focus on justification, and this idea of justice.  The idea that so many years of prision is equivalent to the murder of a person.  But I don’t know if that’s really going to teach us anything.  I’m not saying we need to get rid of our system of justice…but let’s take the notion of justice on a personal level.  Say I create a new friend.  This is your best friend in the whole world, and I strike up a friendship.  Suddenly, your best friend is dividing their time yet some more, when they create a friendship with me.  If you’re possessive and jealous…I’ve suddenly “stolen” your friend from me.  What’s your response?  If you’re human, your response is probably going to be not to find friends with me, the stealer of your friend…but you’re going to start to try to wrestle your will into our friends’ life.  You’re probably going to start saying nasty things about me.  You might even hate me.  Be jealous of me.

How is this different from the Boston bombing?  In some cases, it’s even worse.  The bombing wasn’t a personal thing…the people just happened to be there at the wrong time.  But you, in this situation, am intentionally picking someone out to hate, to despise.  You are picking one person, and this one person, you know them a little bit, so that’s even worse.

Oh!  How the events of society often mirror the ugly truths we think hidden inside our hearts! 

So what?  Our response to the tragedy at Boston should be one of mercy, and compassion and understanding, because they only represented in the world, the very same battle we have within our hearts.  The battle between love and hate.  

Who wins?  We will know by the way that we respond to these events which just shed light on the status of human hearts everywhere.  There’s not enough room in the world for both love and hate to exist.  One will eventually overpower the other.  Which one would you like to see overpower the other?  How will you manifest that in your daily life and interactions?

What a daunting challenge.

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