Monday, April 15, 2013

To the bombers

I want to be angry at you. It's a strange feeling, that, because there was a time when anger, particularly anger in the form of outrage, came easily to me. Instead, I find myself just wanting to be angry.

I came closest when Graeme and I prayed tonight. He prayed that everyone in Boston would be all right and that no one would die. I found myself mentally calculating whether I should tell him that someone was murdered right before bed or wait until the morning.

Still, no anger.

Sadness. Not anger.

Several good friends have posted a quote from Fred Rogers: "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'"

And in the end, that's why I'm not angry. Because while there was horror and shock and pain today, and while there's plenty left for the days to come, particularly for the families of the dead and injured, there was also hope.

Runners finishing a marathon - a marathon - and donating blood. People running back into the explosion to help out. Stores, shops and apartment buildings opening up their wifi to help people get in touch with those outside the city.

We'll get through this. No, that's not quite right. We'll surpass this. We'll better this. You've already lost.   

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Things They Carried

Look at these pictures:

This isn't an attempt to make people feel bad that they have more than other people or a call for us to focus less on the material and more on the eternal - if anything, the plight of the refugee should call to mind how vastly important the material is, when that category includes food, clean water and shelter - but it is an attempt to ask what we would bring with us.

When Graeme was younger, he fell and broke his arm. I scooped him up off the ground, ran home with him, put him in the car, ran into the hospital carrying him and didn't put him down until we got to a hospital bed. I'd do it again, over a dozen miles, and I'd carry Brandon with him, if it meant they'd be safe. They can both walk, though. Ditto the wife.

I wouldn't save the cats. Sorry, Christy, dear, but they're both old and ornery and carrying either of them would be more of a pain than anything else.

My notebooks? I've a hundred of the things, and, really, they're most ephemeral scraps, little bits of thought leaking out onto paper, the pressure release valve for this grey hunk of meat between my ears. No, not them.

My Bible? Maybe. Thing is, I've never been one of the notes-in-the-margin Bible readers, so my Bibles are really just books, and none of them especially rare. I'd be saving them out of emotional investment in them, and none of them have that kind of resonance.

"Knee Deep In Thunder?" Quite probably. It took me forever to find a copy of that book, and it looks like it's once more out of print. It certainly has emotional heft.

I don't know what I'd bring, in the end. What about you? What would be the thing you'd carry?