I was finishing parent-teacher conferences when I texted my college roommate in the Boston suburbs to crack a joke. She made some witty reply. Then she said, “…FYI, when you hear about the explosions, I’m fine.” I was like, “What explosions. She replied to let me know that two bombs had just gone off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Two people killed, dozens injured.
As I drove home from school, I kept thinking about Boston. College was just outside of Boston–enough outside that it wouldn’t be directly impacted. But then I thought about the number of people I knew who lived or worked in Boston. I knew that the likelihood that they were affected or injured was slim, but you have to be concerned. And who knows when one person can just happen to be at that one place.
Fortunately, all of the people I knew had been safely away from the area the bombing happened. But even though no one that I knew was injured, my first reaction to the bombings was still anger. After going back to Boston for spring break, I realized how much of a home that area had become in four short years. And now someone was trying to attack my home, that had people whom I loved living in it. How dare they? Thinking about the fact that last week two sets of explosives had been found on a train in Taiwan magnified the amount of evil in the world. Evil that tries to damage my homes.
My second reaction was guilt. I thought about all the people who live in areas where bombings are a weekly event, and how blessed we are to be in a country where that is not the case. That doesn’t mean that we gloss over the tragedy, but it should put it in perspective.
Third, there’s a feeling of hopelessness, especially when I realized that this evil doesn’t just come in the form of bombings. It also comes in the form of kids whose environments are so broken by the evilness in the world that they don’t get to know the love that they deserve. Just because the evil of this bombing gets the front pages of newspapers doesn’t make it any more evil that the subtle evils that keep the world from reflecting God’s goodness.
Which leaves us with…what? An overwhelming sense of loss, helplessness, and hopelessness? It could…if we’re not careful. Or it could leave us with the opposite…a hope that one day, God’s love will conquer this evil–whether it’s an in your face evil, or a poisonous evil–and recreate a perfect world. Personally, I’d prefer to live by the latter.