The faces are still in my mind. The child. The runners. The security guards. The smoke.
The feelings are still there, too. The grief. The anxiety. The anger.
But when a friend shared her prayer for Boston this morning, it reminded me of an important truth:
Tragedy is always present. It’s quiet, under the radar, unspoken perhaps. But that grief, anxiety and anger are happening in homes and hearts all around us. Every day.
It’s happening in homes like my friend’s, where her four-year-old son has recently been taken off life support. Or when another friend’s teenage son was held hostage at gunpoint while at work in a neighborhood store last week. Or for our friend’s son, as he stood over the casket of his preschool aged daughter, taken by cancer.
That fresh anger, empathy, prayer, and encouragement swirling in us when we see–or live through–atrocities like Boston…it isn’t for nothing.
It’s a gift.
To feel the pain of another, and be shocked out of our comfort zones by news we can’t believe, is to rediscover that we’re a family. That our sisters and brothers–that humanity–is hurting, and that we can help. It confirms, as we see help come in unexpected and valiant ways–as we offer that kind of help to others–that none of us are truly ever alone.
It’s a reminder.
A reminder to stay vigilant in prayer and finding ways to be present and available to people when they need us. It’s a reminder that there are things more important than our messy homes, the pile of bills, and even the all-consuming inner battles we fight with ourselves. And it’s a reminder that sin is still very much alive and well. That daily our lives are in the hands of God, and that it’s His courage in us that presses us on despite it all.
It’s a process.
Just because the bombers are apprehended and the runners are bandaged and London’s event is still going to happen as planned….doesn’t mean we’re done grieving.
Grief doesn’t follow headlines. It follows our hearts.
And hearts don’t know it’s the middle of the night, or the middle of a presentation at work. Hearts need permission to feel and to heal in their own ways. To slowly open again to trust for people, God, this planet we’re all living on. Let the process happen as it needs to, notice the feelings as they come in waves, and find someone to talk to if it feels like you’ve gotten stuck.
It’s an invitation.
Tragedy is part of this life. But so are so many other, life-giving, joy-building things. As we continue to pray for those affected by Boston’s bombings, continue to help our friends close to us in their own tragedies, lean in to healing and trust in this broken world…we’re invited to hope. To gratitude. To live fully, where we are right now. To let the people we love know how precious they are to us. To be present instead of living in the past or anxious about the future.
We can’t prevent tragedy. No matter how secure we make life. No matter how many precautions we take. It’s a part of us as humans. What we DO with it is our choice.
Live it well.
Your friend in the grief…and the healing,