I am very blessed in that I have never been at the heart of a huge tragedy. I grew up in Salem, OR and there was only one time where I ever experienced a bombing and at the time I wasn’t even aware of what it was until the bomb went off (detonated by the bomb squad, so no injures). So when I try and understand what the people of Boston are going through right now, I find myself coming up very short.
When I first heard the news I was cruising down the 57 freeway on my way to work. I heard something about the Boston Marathon and turned up the radio because I knew a friend’s mother was running in it. The moment they said the word “bomb” I felt my heart drop and tears spring to my eyes.
I’m never sure how to respond to tragedy. A lot of the time I want to come up with something profound, inspiring, or comforting to say. In the end, though, I realize I want to say those things because they will make me feel better. They give me a tiny bit of power in a moment where I feel entirely powerless. So for the sake of not wanting to sound cliché or say something for the sake of my own comfort, I usually refrain from posting on Twitter or updating Facebook regarding the situation until I have had time to think through the situation.
It is hard not to focus on the evil of it all, though. The fact that darkness is very present in the world is something I can usually put at the back of my mind. When tragedies like this happen, however, it hits me hard. My first reaction when things like this happen is to give up on humanity as a whole. I want to distance myself from the evil in the world and want to be hard on humanity for allowing things like this to happen. It is such a pessimistic view and I was grappling with it today until I read a post by Patton Oswalt on Facebook regarding the situation.
He made such a profound point that I decided to write a response to it in order to try and boost the signal. It is so easy to focus on the evil in a situation like the tragedy in Boston instead of focusing on the good that the evil inadvertently brings out in people. Evil tries to destroy the good but when we really look at it, good seems to prevail. The fact that hearts are breaking all over the nation is a sign that good prevails. If good did not exist in the world, why would this situation provoke a nation to action?
If good did not exist in the world, why would people be rushing out to donate blood? Why would there be people who rushed toward the explosion when instinct dictates they should have been running away? If good was gone and evil won the day, we would not see selfless acts of kindness. We would not see people gathering together to comfort those who are directly affected by the tragedy.
I will conclude by emphasizing this point: Evil has not won and will not win. Yes, today was tragic and so will the days following but in order to get through them we have to focus on the fact that good will prevail. Now and always.