Finding Hope and Humanity: Thoughts after Boston

Running Sunset

With a heavy heart I sit at my computer, hands at the ready, fingers pressed to keys, but my mind is as clouded as ever with more questions than answers. I was prepared to write in anticipation of the Gang of 8's immigration reform bill announcement that was scheduled for tomorrow. How I wish that was still the case. By now the entire world knows that earlier today Boston suffered a disturbing act of evil and cowardice that reeks of a sickening disregard for human life.

Rightfully so, the senators will observe their own moment of silence, tabling the announcement for at least a day out of respect for the victims in Boston. As I sat in shock at my office desk earlier today, listening to breaking news while trying to focus on work, my visceral responses ranged from sadness to rage. This type of event is as likely to cause you to want to punch someone as it makes you want to slouch in a corner with your head hanging in your hands, wondering what has become of humanity.

As an American, I am angered and sickened by what happened.

As a runner, I know the countless hours of training that preceded that race today; the utter joy and satisfaction - and yes that pleasurable pain - of approaching the finish line. I have stood as those victims stood - on the sidelines cheering friends, family, and strangers alike for reaching the tape. And in an instant, it all changed.

As a father...

I am thankful that when I came home after a long day of work, my little one was safely snuggled in her crib, dreaming of bunnies and Big Bird, unaware of the tragic events of earlier today. Tomorrow she'll be none the wiser, concerned only with stealing a morning cuddle with my wife and me, and getting her morning bottle of warm milk. She's too innocent to know what evil can lurk around the corner, that, as my father had engrained in my brain - anything can happen at any time. She's too young to know and understand what has happened today. Hell, I'm not so sure I really do. Fortunately, she is not old enough to ask those toughest of questions - those that invariably begin – Why? With events such as the recent shootings across the U.S., the civil war atrocities in Syria, and now today, I too wonder – Why? I know the pundits and experts have their theories and explanations - from the sociological and psychological to the political and historical. Yet, for all the theories floating around, I still imagine that the majority of us are all left simply stunned, asking – Why?

As a human, I cannot lose hope.

I have to believe that despite such acts, there is hope. It's getting harder to see it these days, but when we look for it, it’s apparently and actually abundantly clear. I saw it today in those who immediately rushed to aid others, armed with nothing more than hands open and ready. In those who finished the race and ran directly to the hospital prepared to give blood. In those adults who courageously put themselves in harm's way to protect the children in Newtown. In those who instinctively crawl into the tiniest of spaces of rubble of a bombed building, willing to find the helpless, when they themselves are in danger of being crushed. In those selfless acts, we should see hope, and in those people, we should find strength.

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In troubling times such as these, remember the words of a far greater man who faced the toughest of adversity and venomous hatred and yet managed to find hope and love:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” - Martin Luther King Jr

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Tonight I have no commentary on immigration. My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their loved ones.