On April 15, 2013, terrorists detonated two bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Three people were killed, and many others were seriously wounded.
There have been several occasions in my life where chaos and violence shifted my perception of time, even if I was physically far from the event. Time slows down, speeds up, sometimes feels like its hiccuping or repeating itself as we hit refresh over and over and over again on the browser, or the same scenes are replayed by each of the major networks. But these aberrations in my sense of time, and in my sense of safety, never stopped the sun from going down at the end of the day – and never stopped the sun from rising the next morning.
A new day, with a new set of challenges, including the challenge of wrapping my head around yet another wave of violence. But that fresh start is also an opportunity for a fresh perspective, for evolving the way I look at the situation, and the world.
This morning, it was the sunrise that woke me up. Our bed is on the west side of our home, but for a brief minute the rising sun lasered it’s way through the balcony, through our living room, down the hall, and across my bed on the far side of our bedroom. The precision required to get the light across that space is remarkable, with maybe an inch of leeway. I know the light did not have a will of it’s own, but it sure felt like it was trying to get my attention.
The sun always rises
The sun always rises. But it’s not really rising, is it? The sun stays in the same place, and we revolve around it. It’s our changing perspective, in the physical sense, that brings the sun back into our little corner of the world each morning.
In the moments when the world seems dark and evil, it’s a change in my perspective that shifts my attention to the light.
As a child, I was taught that all people are evil at their core, but I no longer believe that is true. I believe most people don’t want to hurt anyone. In fact, I believe most people would go out of their way to avoid causing physical harm to another person. I believe most people want to be helpful. I believe most people want to do good. I believe that right this minute, people from all over the world are praying for Boston, and for the victims and their family members. I believe that when I small handful of people do something evil, a much larger group of ordinary people rise up and perform heroic tasks without even realizing it. They do it because they are there, and it’s the right thing to do. There’s no time to think about whether or not their good actions will be recognized.
Nature always seeks a balance
Yes, there are evil people in this world, and one way or another, they’ll get what’s coming to them. I want them stopped, to prevent another tragedy, but I refuse to invest any of my own limited life in thoughts of revenge. Karma will get them, even if no one else does. Nature always seeks a balance.
In the meantime, I choose to focus on the people healing, and the people doing good. These stories keep reminding me that despite the presence of evil, there is so much hope for the human race.
Patton Oswalt put it beautifully, and again I marvel at how our comedians can cut right to the heart of the matter – Modern day court jesters who speak the truth others are too fearful to say.
To the bad guys: “the good outnumber you, and we always will.” Patton Oswalt