I am flying to Boston tomorrow. My trip has been planned for months and has nothing whatsoever to do with the preposterous events that occurred the day before yesterday. My trip has so little to do with Boston as a place – in and of itself – that I did not even really know the marathon was going on this week. I was not in any way thinking about Boston other than as a travel hub… not even a destination. Now this is not meant in any way to suggest that I have any negative thoughts about Boston; far from it actually I would love to spend some free time in that fair city.
But now I have to think about Boston. We all do… or at least we should.
And yet, what can I say that has not already been said? Here I am on the frozen edge of the north (sort of), with a trip through Boston in my immediate future, recognizing that travel there is now rather more complicated. There will likely be delays and some inconvenience or other. So what? I can plan for that. I am only in the position of being a casual observer; a passerby that is affected in the most miniscule of ways. I am not – like some – hanging on to a thread of life in a hospital bed, forced to face – when conscious – a new reality that is grim and gritty, full of nails and ball bearings.
But I have to think about that too. We all do… or at least we should.
I am traveling through Boston en route to points elsewhere. I will be there for mere hours, on my way to meet with family. Due to a number of different reasons, I often do not see family for years on end, but that is beside the point. The point is I CAN still see some of them now. I am not lying in a hospital bed attempting to recover from horrible injuries, grieving for the loss of a loved one or fearing for the lives of others… potentially even my own.
But I am going to be thinking about that now. We all are… or at least we should be.
So what will I be thinking about these things? Well for one I will be thankful for the fact that I can still think about these things, as difficult as they are. I will also remind myself that life goes on. We all know that. I will ponder the possibility that for some it will be in a different place, beyond this world. I will accept that for some it will be in a wholly altered state of reality; a very difficult one. I will know that for many it will simply be different, but it will go on.
Yet, I am also forced to think about those places where this sort of ridiculous and horrible event is fairly common. It is reality. It has been – and likely will be – for years. Of course I never want to face such a thing myself. Nor do I want anyone I know and love (or like, or dislike, or whatever) to have to face such a thing. Neither do I want anyone I have never met on the other side of the world to ever have to face such a thing. But it keeps happening doesn’t it? We keep blowing ourselves up, shooting ourselves, beating ourselves, torturing ourselves. We keep disrespecting ourselves, we keep hurting ourselves; we keep being mean and angry and vicious. It makes it hard to like us sometimes. And we keep asking ourselves why and arguing about why and how to stop it. We keep trying to stop it… I think.
Times like this I am often reminded of a favorite quote (no surprise there really) and one that I have used here before…
So says Linus Van Pelt.
An interesting thing though, much of the reaction that I have been hearing is positive. People have been trying to focus on those that chose to help instead of hurt; those that freely gave of themselves to assist in some way or lessen the trials and tribulations of others. Yes, there is anger and fear. There is pain and suffering and desperate efforts to try to understand the whithertos and whyfors. But there is also hope. There is kindness and love.
And in the end I will think about that. I hope that we all will.