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April 17, 2013

The Boston Marathon Tragedy

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As I watched the bombs going off only feet away from the Boston Marathon finish line, I was reminded of how fragile life can be. In an instant everything changed for so many people. Runners stopped celebrating, bystanders froze in terror, lives were lost and families were instantly altered forever. 

In an instant, everything changed. 

I can’t imagine what the affected families are going through. How many “what ifs” are being played out in the minds of those touched by this tragedy? How many “whys” are being asked in the hope of making sense of a senseless crime? How many prayers are asking for God’s help? I know many people are struggling to find the answers to this craziness. Honestly, I don’t believe there are any answers that would explain, make sense of or provide understanding of such a cowardly, evil act. Instead of focusing on answers, which of course we also need, my hope is that we focus more of our attention on foraging a path to healing rather than a path of vengeance. In the afterhours of this tragic event, here are a few suggestions to help us get on the path to healing. 

  • Refuse to allow hate to create more hate. Ninety-nine percent of the world’s violence takes place in response to violence. We call this offending from the victim position. It’s common for people to think, “You just hurt me so now I get to annihilate you…and I feel no qualms about my retaliation.” When we succumb to this type of thinking we create a tsunami of violence, not an answer to it. Martin Luther King said it best, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Refuse to succumb to hate.
  • Practice gratitude. After watching families crying for their loved ones, I was acutely aware of what a gift my family is. Pull your children in close, hug them, kiss them and tell them you love them. Let go of the pettiness that takes us out of relationships and take a moment to lean into them.
  • Don’t waste time. Tragedies like this are an unfortunate reminder that our time on this planet is limited. Don’t take your time for granted. Create the life and relationships you’ve wanted to create forever and have forever start today. 
  • “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Gandhi was right, if you want the world to be a certain way, then live what you want the world to master. Walk the walk, model for others and begin to set a ripple effect in motion across the waters of the world. It does make a difference; you make a difference. If one act of evil can turn things upside down, so can daily acts of kindness. Start the ripple.
  • Have faith. Believe in the overall good in people. There are countless people in the world who put their lives at risk to save the lives of others, who lend their homes to strangers and who make heroic moves in the face of unspeakable tragedies. When we all push ourselves to do the same we are changing the face of our world. Faith can be a powerful force to pull you through. If you have a strong spiritual faith—lean in; if you’re not sure—try a couple of prayers, visit a church, read. Look for the good in humanity and allow any and all of these to help pull you through. 
  • For those who were injured or lost loved ones, my heart goes out to you. I cannot imagine the pain you are experiencing and I am so sorry for your loss. In times like these, remind yourself to keep your thoughts on the present moment at hand. Looking down the road can feel overwhelming and is seldom helpful. Focus on the immediate physical, emotional and medical needs of you and your loved ones first and foremost. Take things one day at a time and you will slowly pull yourselves out of the nightmare you are in. Have faith. 

    Challenge: Let this tragedy be a wake up call to all of us to step into the world with love, not hate. Hate ruins lives and wreaks havoc on our world. Help those in need, stand up for those who get squashed, pick up those who fall. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, so live today as though it were your last tomorrow.

     

     

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