Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Reflects on the Boston Marathon Explosions
In less than a minute, hundreds of runners and many more family members or friends had the reaching of a lifetime goal transformed into a memory of horror in Boston. Having run in a marathon, having trained two weeks in a trauma center, and having counseled and helped identify the dead in the aftermath of two helicopter crashes, I have some sense of the physical, emotional, and spiritual turmoil many must be experiencing now. I also pray for them and for members of the Massachusetts National Guard, some of who were on the scene. I served alongside Massachusetts Guardsmen in Afghanistan; they will do well, as they did yesterday, running to rescue and assist those injured by the explosions. We don't know yet who executed this horrific act, but many have rushed to assert their speculations. Some, I think rather strangely, have expressed their opinion that the government is considering them as suspects. In time, evidence will emerge and hopefully perpetrator(s) identified. However, even then, regardless of how concrete the evidence, some will cling to their pet theory, their favorite specter of evil. Why do some people seem to relish conflict, to enjoy speaking evil of others, to deny truth when it does not match their imaginations? Why do others (and there may be some overlap in the two subsets) love to harm others, rejoice in the death of innocent bystanders, and clamor for recognition as murderers even when they did not perform the act? One truth I know: this is not a new phenomenon. When a tower fell and killed others in the time of Jesus, some assert that the dead surely had sinned against God. Jesus rebutted their claim (see Luke 13:1-3). Most people who experienced the explosions in Boston or were affected directly by them will bear emotional and perhaps also physical scars for a long time. Some of them, like a father whose eight year old son died¸ whose wife and daughter were severely injured will grieve and second-guess themselves about their presence there that day. Sights, smells, and sounds will linger and haunt. Many will recover as they help one another, as they search for meaning in life, as they learn to love again and to forgive. Still, some people will gloat. They will celebrate horror, death, and amputations of people they never met. Others, much like them, will grieve if the actual murderer is not from the group they suspected. How may we help? Pray. Love. Forgive (It will help us heal.). Serve. Search for true answers. Be patient with others while doing our best. Whether the explosions were set by a foreign or domestic terrorist, a deranged individual who didn't understand what they were doing, or a prankster (Let us pray it was not the last.), horrible evil has happened. We must not allow the evil to envelop our own souls. As we seek justice, we ourselves must avoid hurting the innocent and slandering the investigator. We do not have to become terrorists to overcome terrorism. We must however act, not cower, as we go forward. Comfort the suffering. Honor the dead. Live with courage and integrity. Be agents of good in a context clouded by evil.