It is days like today that alter my perspective; everything that seemed so important this morning just isn’t by dinnertime. I just long to go home and hug my husband, to cocoon in my house and to try desperately to stave off the chill and get warm.
After an afternoon being unable to concentrate, I raced out to my car at 4:55pm so that I wouldn’t miss President Obama’s address to the nation about today’s bombing incident at the Boston marathon. Based on the news reports I had been scouring all afternoon, I knew that there was very little information to be had, but I still was loathe to miss him speak. As soon as his rich baritone began, tears streamed down my cheeks and I choked up several more times on the way home. When he speaks I can’t describe how I feel: his calm soothing tones, his warmth and compassion, yet his definitive command. I feel safer. I feel pride in being from this country. I am reminded of people’s greatest qualities, compassion, spirit, and resilience, that are so incredibly important in the face of an act perpetrated by those acting on their worst qualities.
I first noticed what was going on shortly after the bombs went off. Someone I don’t know posted a picture on my Twitter feed about the aftermath of the Boston marathon. I viewed it, but didn’t think much of it. There appeared to be fog in the picture. I could see what I thought were streamers and confetti on the ground at the finish line. I don’t know what I was looking at, or what I should have been looking at, or if my mind was simply trying to block what it was I was seeing. When I went back and looked at the same image again, 20 minutes later, suddenly I saw the flags on the ground and pools of blood on the sidewalk. This wasn’t a sarcastic, wry photo of the leftovers of an event, this was the photographic evidence of what is still a crime scene.
In this day and age, I experience events like these through Twitter, Facebook and Ravelry. Each is not without its merits, also has its flaws. When something traumatic happens, even if it doesn’t specifically affect me, I want to reach out. I want to share, to comfort people and be comforted. I immediately went looking on Ravelry for threads to post in. I watched my Facebook and Twitter feeds roll by with prayers and good wishes for those in Boston, and confirmations of safety for those in the area or from people who knew people who were there. I am always reminded of how connected we are – through our personal relationships but also through the internet.
Of course, all of these sources, and their accessibility means that any information or misinformation can be posted and propagated. I found this particular Tweet quite poignant this afternoon:
I suspect speculation, unhelpful as it is, is a coping mechanism – how to make a sudden unexpected horror fit into pattern of known facts.
As a child, I remember listening to my father talking about how anyone old enough to remember knows exactly where they were and what they were doing the day JFK was assassinated. There have been too many of these events in my lifetime: the Challenger explosion, 9/11 and many others, and more recently the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings and a local gas explosion at a shopping area not far from where I work. Some of these are events that have definite perpetrators, while others are tragic accidents. All afternoon I kept hoping that what was happening in Boston was the latter, while the saddened cynical part of me was pretty sure it was the former.
So tonight, cuddled up under blankets in my house I am thankful for what I have, I am striving to remember this moment of perspective, I am choosing to think about the good in people rather than the bad, and I am sending all my good thoughts and wishes to the people of Boston who were victims of today’s events, and to those who are working to help those who were.