Yet, time after time I hear about people who’ve endured unthinkable circumstances, rising above their own grief, and doing something positive with the hand they’ve been dealt. I’m sure it helps to pour yourself into something other than grief. I know it’s necessary. I know it’s cathartic. I pray I never have to “know.”
In the hours following the Boston Marathon bombing I, like most everyone else, was glued to Twitter reading countless tweets under #bostonmarathon, flipping between news stations, checking msn.com, Yahoo.com, CNN – you name it. Every once in a while, someone would mention how “this could have been so much worse.” It was never said with malicious intent or meant to be disrespectful – it was simply stated as fact in an effort to make the viewer feel better. When I’d read or hear a statement with this underlying message, I would cringe and get angry. I was angry for those who'd lost their 8 year old son, their 29 year old daughter, their leg, their arm, their ability to walk down the street without fear. This tragic event is as bad as it gets for these people. To say "this could have been so much worse" seems like a total dismissal to those who were affected.
But I know what they meant.
On Monday, my heart was broken both for the city of Boston and for our country. Like every parent, I fear this troubled world my son is forced to grow up in. Between school shootings, bullying, attacks on our freedom – both foreign and domestic – there’s not much recourse short of finding that blanket to crawl under. But over the last 2 days, the outpouring of kind acts and stories of heroism have flooded the news and social media. Typically, acts of kindness don’t make headlines. But I believe we’re so deficient at this point, it’s what we crave. Humanity has an exceptional gift for restoring balance.
These acts of benevolence and goodwill are doing exactly what they’re intended to do; they’re making us stronger, more unified. Each act is a thread of love, inspiration, heart and courage weaving this...blanket of sorts. Not one to crawl under, but one to envelope and protect us.
One of my favorite “threads” occurred the night following the bombings. The New York Yankees displayed the Yankees and Red Sox logos flanking the words, “United We Stand” on their video board. Further, the Yankees played (and most sang along with) the Red Sox mainstay, “Sweet Caroline,” during that game against Arizona.
While I hate that it takes an act of terror to pull us together and remind us to become the people we should’ve been all along – without losing sight of the pain and grief of those who lost loved ones and were directly affected on that fateful day – I am grateful that our country grows stronger (and kinder) as a result.
This is us - rising above our own grief and doing something positive with the hand we've been dealt.