Friday, April 19, 2013

Friends in Boston or Elsewhere
Like many people, my plans were derailed Monday by the horrific news coming from the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

I don’t know about you, but when a tragedy like this unfolds, I’m glued to the TV. It’s not that I enjoy seeing the shocking images replayed every few minutes. I just want to understand: what’s going on and why. I can’t ignore it, at least not yet.

Three are dead and well over 100 injured. So far, at least, I don’t know anyone directly affected. But that’s not a lot of consolation. Most people aren’t directly affected. Except they are.

When something unexpected happens, something so jarring, we scramble to explain it. But sometimes answers are slow to come, if at all, and we have to accept that we’ll never know.

Events such as the explosions in Boston – or Oklahoma City or Mumbai or London or on 9/11 – are perpetrated not just for political reasons but to disrupt the calm of our daily lives. The people responsible want to instill fear. And often they succeed.

You may now be hyper-vigilant about your children, or your personal safety. You may update your will. You may make a sudden life change that you’d only been contemplating before, reasoning that life is too short to not do it.

But as many have pointed out – sadly, yet again – human beings tend to carry on. We don’t ignore what happened, but we don’t get stuck in it. We go back to work, back to school, back to our sometimes boring daily routines.

How we remember days like Monday varies. Some people block it out altogether. Others insist it doesn’t affect them, won’t affect them. They won’t make any changes to how they live their lives. “Don’t let the terrorists win.” How many times did we hear that after 9/11?

Honestly, I don’t think the terrorists give a shit.

But I do think a tragedy like Boston may compel you to live your life differently. It probably has already.

Did you call friends in Boston to check on their safety, maybe even people you hadn’t talked to in a long time? Did you log onto Facebook or Twitter to get messages to those you care about?

Did anyone get a good night’s sleep Monday night? How about last night, when news broke about the firefight that killed one suspect and a police officer? I doubt it. But use your exhaustion today. Use it to reach out to your friends. You’ll both be glad you did.


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