As tragedies are apt to do, the bombings at the Boston Marathon yesterday led to some serious conversations in homes across America. Ours was no different. Aaron and I both spend our days with young children so our knowledge of tragedies as they happen is often limited during the day. It is when we end our day, safe in the comfort of our own home, that we are really able to discover and discuss what happened.
Yesterday, as we sifted through news reports, the familiar feeling of sadness mixed with a certain sense of detachment crept up on me. It is not that I do not feel for those who are suffering after these latest bombings, it is that it is always truly very difficult for me to even begin to imagine what those most closely affected must be going through after a tragedy such as this. I hope I never know. I hope no one ever knows.
As Aaron and I wrestled with our own thoughts on an individual’s reactions to mass tragedies, I began to think about all of the tragedies and truly horrific things that happen around the world on a daily basis. And then I began to (briefly) question my world view. How in the world could I possibly argue that the world is, in fact, a beautiful place full of kind people, all connected by invisible commonalities, when things like this happen? And then I realized……
The harm that we do to one another is just as much proof of our interconnectedness as the loving gestures we put forth. Anger and hatred can lead to just as many tangible outcomes as kindness and love can. And, for me, that is a comforting thought.
How? Why? Because it means that this path of violence can be changed if we choose to change it. It means that we can choose to put forth positivity and kindness and alter the course of our species. It means that we can continue to put my faith in the idea that even the smallest of kind deeds has a ripple affect that may push more and more light into the universe. It means that we can continue to tell our children to do what they feel is right and to “be the bigger person”. It means all of these things to me because if we are all truly interconnected than we can keep tipping the scales in the favor of all that is right within us instead of what is wrong. We must keep tipping that scale because the alternative is not sustainable.
When I closed my eyes last night, I envisioned myself looking in on our world from a vantage point far beyond our atmosphere. When I did this I began to realize that the greater overall energy is what would be apparent from such a distance, not the individual acts. Almost as if watching ants; we see the work and cohesiveness that is utilized to build an ant hill but we generally fail to even notice when an individual ant drops a piece of sand. So, I began to wonder…. if the overall energy of our planet is positive- if we commit to ensuring that it is positive-could those individual acts of hatred, violence, and disrespect soon begin to seem less and less frequent and less significant? Could we possibly choose to tip the scales so far, not so that we erase all horrific acts (that may be impossible), but so that we cease to feed the negative energy in any meaningful way? I believe we can. I believe we must.
Call me an idealist… I have been called worse.
Do not misunderstand what I am saying. The tragedy of lives lost and those injured yesterday is felt far deeper by those closest to them than the act of an ant dropping a grain of sand. I just use that analogy to show that it is possible to focus on the greater accomplishments and connectedness of our species rather than allowing the horrible blemishes on our record to take over. We are smarter, stronger, and more capable than that.
By now every one of you who has facebook has probably seen the Mr. Rogers quote about “looking for helpers” when watching tragedy unfold in the news. It’s good advice from a truly good man. But I can’t help but wonder if maybe we need to start being our own helpers by way of ensuring that we no longer feed the portion of our connectedness- the invisible thread- that is pulling humanity towards violence and hate.
Just a thought.
What are your thoughts?