I turned on the TV yesterday to watch Doctor Who with my early dinner, and got the Boston Marathon bombing instead. Like most other folks, my first reactions were horror and sorrow, and a feeling of frustration that there was nothing I could do. And fear, of course.
I asked myself the same questions many other people were asking, in Boston and across America: Is no place safe? What kind of world do we live in now? Who could do such a thing? How do we live our daily lives in the face of what seems like one catastrophe after another?
I don't have any brilliant answers to those questions. I'm not sure anyone does. But here are a few of my thoughts, in no particular order:
Find out the facts, and then turn off the TV/computer/iPad -- we help no one by letting ourselves feel overwhelmed and traumatized by the constant bombardment of horrific pictures by the news.
As much as possible, don't let a disaster elsewhere sidetrack your own life. Yes--sometimes we need a day to regroup (I didn't get much done last night). But after that, don't focus on the tragedy unless you have some personal involvement in it. We "win" against terrorists and all others who create mayhem by getting on with our lives with as much grace and dignity as possible. Every moment of joy is a gift we give to ourselves and to others.
When disasters are caused by people (as opposed to hurricanes and other acts of nature), it can be easy to feel as though All People are Bad. The truth is, most people are pretty wonderful. More people ran towards the explosion, to try to help, than ran away. There were heroes everywhere. We cannot let a few evil people change how we view the world.
If you are feeling the need to do something positive to counter the bad stuff, by all means, do SOMETHING. You can donate blood or money. You can pray or light a candle, if those are things you are comfortable with. What you do doesn't have to be in any way connected to the disaster. I fully believe that every good thing counts in some way. So do something nice for your family, your friends, your neighbors. Volunteer at a shelter. Feed the poor. Hell, feed the birds. Whatever makes you feel like you are making a difference, no matter how small.
What's important is to meet negativity with positivity. Every time someone acts out of hatred, I do my best to be even more loving. For it is in our coming together that we triumph, and in our love that we overcome hate.
Lots of love to you all on this difficult day.