Wednesday, April 17, 2013

And It Makes Me Proud

In the wake of tragedy, I inevitably hear about those directly affected with the presence of mind – or selflessness - to take their loss and turn it into a positive: A law that prevents “x” from happening again, the creation of an organization or movement to raise awareness for “x,” or simply the idea that being happy and moving on with their lives is what he or she would’ve wanted.  I’m not sure I’d be able to be that person.  I’m fear I’m too selfish.  I can see myself finding a blanket to crawl under and rocking myself into a catatonic state. 
 
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.

People, this just doesn't happen.  That's like asking Jillian Michaels to cozy up to a package of pork rinds – and smile about it. And this isn't merely a sports metaphor - this act is symbolic of what is taking place all over our country right now.

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. 


    


15 comments:

  1. As a lifelong Massachusetts resident, I'm conflicted by the Yankees' support... When are we allowed to go back to hating them again?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tomorrow is fine! I wouldn't give up the rivalry for anything - but loved the support last night.

      Delete
  2. So, so good. And spot on. Thanks for the perspective. When I heard what the Yankees did, it so touched my heart. Such an awesome gesture. My favorite part is, "...remind us to become the people we should’ve been all along." Yes, yes, yes. Big hug to you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I wasn't aware of this act of fraternity by the Yankees. Very classy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought it was pretty awesome. I'm sure they're back to detesting each other today, but last night was pretty cool.

      Delete
  4. Nicely put, Karen. I've not followed the bombing news too much - it's just easier to put my head in the sand. But I, too, just had the thought the other day: what kind of world did I bring my children into? But you know what? If it wasn't the bombing, it would have been something else. There were challenges and crazy people 100 years ago, too. Besides, I need someone to protect me from the nursing home employees when I'm old and drooling over myself. (Sorry, Kids) But seriously, this was an awesome post. You are such a wonderful writer and it was comforting to read something emphasizing patriotism amidst all the heartache.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's hard to follow - I totally understand the head in the sand approach. And you're absolutely right about the fact that if it weren't this it would be something else. right now we've got a potential bomb that went off at a fertilizer plant in Waco/West Texas. That's close to me.

      I've already prepped Ryan as to his duties when I'm old - we're good ;) Thanks for the great words.

      Delete
  5. Love it! But I wouldn't expect anything less from you. Did you hear about the explosion in West? We heard the boom and it rattled the windows here in Waxahachie. How about you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Melissa. I'm not close enough to hear or feel anything, but it's close enough! So scary and it looks like they haven't even scratched the surface on the devastation. This storm isn't helping anything, either. You stay safe - xo

      Delete
  6. Following from more than mommies!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Loved this. As the days followed the Boston bombing, there was a quote being passed around by Mr. Rogers that I loved and that your post reminds me of. Through all the recent tragedies, as much as it scares the shit out of me, seeing total strangers pull together and help one another (especially with the West, Texas explosion) is amazing and so comforting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally agree! I truly felt like I just couldn't take another tragedy, and it seemed like everywhere I looked, people were doing so much good in the face of it. I read the Mr. Rogers quote and absolutely loved it. Along with Patton Oswalt's poignant words. The helpers have been everywhere and it is so good to see.

      Delete