Until we hear that an all-American
city celebrating a great tradition in broad daylight on Patriots Day is bombed.
Until we hear that an 8 year old was murdered by the explosion.
And then we are reminded of
the fragility of security.
Tens of thousands
slaughtered in Syria
sounds far away. But Boston?
feels like our backyard.
Boston is where I arrived at the age of 22. My greatest
insecurity was how a working class girl from South Omaha
would fit in with the east coast intellectuals who would be my law school
It’s where I learned to
drink coffee and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning writing memoranda
based on the Constitution whose roots were buried in this very town. It was in Boston that my passion for fighting injustice blossomed
and where three decades later I would watch my son graduate from Harvard Law School.
When we bear witness to the
devastating shatter of the security of others who feel near, our own security
is threatened. Someone else suffered the loss, but we cannot sleep at night.
Our children are tucked safely in their beds, but we are compelled to open the
nursery door to look again, merely for our own comfort. We check the locks on
the door one more time, just to be sure.
We feel anxious, vigilant.
We are on guard and irrational with our imagined scenarios.
Security affords us the
luxury of feeling safe. Of living in the belief that there is no danger. That
all is well.
The truth is, risk is ever
present. We don’t know when, or if, or how we will fall victim. It is this
uncertainty that keeps us up at night. How do we live with unpredictability?
How do we find peace of mind when we feel so vulnerable?
We breathe. We focus on what
matters most in this moment. We give thanks.
We breathe because it may be
the only thing we are capable of when facing such terror. We breathe because it
helps our body which suffers from the rushes of cortisol. We breathe because it
keeps us in the present and away from the future we fear and cannot control.
We focus on what matters
most to us in this moment. Taking care of ourselves. Taking care of those we
love. Surrendering tomorrow.
We give thanks. For the
caring that we find amidst atrocities. For the heroes who rise up. For our
capacity to comfort others in a time of sorrow. For the hope that sees us
through the day.
Breathe. Focus. Thank.
Repeat. We cannot protect ourselves from the countless uncertainties of life or
predict the future. We may not know what to do. But as long as we are among
those blessed to be alive, we can do these.