Personal Tragedy Meets National Tragedy: The Boston Explosions

A ViewPoint by Marg Herder

"Smoke" - Digital Image by Marg HerderI arrived home from a business lunch today and did what I usually do.  Sat down at my desk and clicked on the TV while pulling up my email. Today the TV came on muted; and without looking up, I focused on the twenty messages clamoring for my attention.

Immediately, I noticed an email from a dear friend.  She had sent me the obituary of her father, who passed away yesterday.  It was much sooner than it was supposed to be; he had been told he’d have several more months.  But now, after just a few short weeks, he is gone, leaving an empty space here in this place we call our earthly home.  I hit reply and tried to figure out what I could possibly write to her that would express my sorrow for the situation—and my love for her.   I know that her family is forever changed.  As they sit down together tonight at dinner, they are a different family than they were the day before yesterday.  But I also know they will emerge from this personal tragedy even more deeply connected than they were before.  Moving through this situation will require they reinvent their family by recreating the way they love and support each other.  Their new creation will be rich and full, because they are beautiful, loving people.

In the midst of this, I looked up and happened to notice what was on the TV.  It was the coverage of the unfolding tragedy in Boston, the explosion near the finish line at the Boston Marathon.  I turned up the sound.

Personal tragedy meets national tragedy.

It’s too early to know exactly what happened at Boston, but I do know that the explosions will leave empty spaces in many families, in many lives.  I also know that just like the day of the bombing in Oklahoma City, just like the day the planes were flown into the World Trade Center, this day will certainly change something about us.

I feel sorrow welling up from my heart and spilling out of me.

It is in these moments, the moments right after such tragedies, when each of us makes a decision about how we will respond.  It is in this time of stillness, perhaps of shock, in which we set our course.

And let us be acutely aware, as we move through this situation, that it provides an opportunity to reinvent ourselves.

Will we respond with anger, casting about for some group of people to blame, someone to hurt with our words or actions?  Or will we make the difficult decision to respond only with love, searching for ways to connect with each other as a people and support those affected, perhaps even directing our attention to creating a world of peace and equality where violence is never considered necessary to achieve an end?

We make this decision individually, and we make this decision as a people.

I will choose love.

I pray for love and healing to rain down on my friend’s family as they recreate life without one so dear to them.  I pray for love and healing to wash over all of those who are suffering as a result of the tragedy in Boston.  And I pray for the fullness of Divine love and healing to pour down on those who initiated the Boston explosions so that they will never again feel the need to cause the suffering of others.

Finally, and most importantly, I hope you will all join me in praying that our nation will be swept up in a great and miraculous current of love, refusing to meet violence with violence, instead standing shoulder to shoulder, arms around each other, taking full advantage of this moment to recreate the way this “One nation under God” responds to pain, tragedy, and loss.

© 2013 by Christian Feminism Today

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Marg Herder
Marg Herder is the Director of Public Information for EEWC-CFT, a Christian feminist organization working for gender (and LGBTQIA) justice in Christianity since 1974. She is the content manager and developer of the organization’s website, Christian Feminism Today. Marg identifies as a trans* lesbian writer, musician, and feminist spiritual seeker. She works to draws attention to the ongoing violence directed at women and LGBTQIA people in this “Christian” society, the desperate need for an understanding of God that includes the Divine Feminine, and Christ/Sophia’s desire that each of us move deeper into our own practice of non-violence.

7 COMMENTS

  1. My constant hope and prayer at this time, following the capture of the surviving bomber, is that blame does not spread to cover all Muslims, all “foreigners,” (who had become US citizens in this case), and that we as a people see ourselves as those who often shut out the very ones who need our care. What a great thing it would be to hear from our national leaders words of sanity, clarity, concern for the future of those in this country. Let us hope that those in Congress and state legislatures let go of their craziness and begin to develop or re-develop ways that ALL can live in this country without fear and hatred and prejudice. God bless our President and all who must lead and make painful decisions. May they be guided by love for neighbor.

  2. Beautiful, Marg. And on the fifth day, we have one of the bombers dead, the other left to fill in some of the blanks.
    On LATimes.com early Tuesday, Robin Abcarian reported on how Muslims were praying, “Let the bomber(s) not be Muslim.” Now it turns out that they were Muslim and immigrants too. Let us pray for love to sustain us, rather than a suspicion of all Muslims or all immigrants.

  3. What a beautiful, divine Spirit shines through your words, Marg! Sometimes I wander around singing an old hymn, “Make me a blessing…Out of my life, may Jesus shine”—and I want you to know that this blog has been a blessing to me today.

  4. Thank you, Marg, for staying present with the ugliness and sorrow, translating that to the noun and verb LOVE through your incredible writing and art. Love, the only answer to peace in the world and our hearts.

  5. Working in a funeral home as I do, I am well aware of the shock in those who come here so soon after the death of a loved one. It never occurred to me that shock is a pause in which we can decide how we choose to go forward. Thank you , Marg, for this insight.

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