I’ve been struggling to put into words the amalgam of emotions I’ve felt coursing through my veins this last week.
The sheer terror of not knowing if those I love had been harmed by such a senseless act of violence.
Relief brought on by the distance of a single city block.
Sorrow and empathy for beautiful souls taken too soon, too young, and for those whose blood had been spilled by malice.
White. Hot. Anger.
Soul-searching confusion. I don’t believe that people can be born evil. Rather I choose to believe that those individuals that aid, mastermind, and put into action these horrible episodes of terror are victims of upbringing, of circumstance, of ill-natured indoctrination. But I was incredibly shaken by the image of a baby-faced teen who somehow was detached enough from humanity to plant seeds of destruction in crowds of innocent, jubilant human beings so full of life and promise. I felt for a moment that this war of good verses evil- of us versus them- had swayed in a dark direction. But through my tears I found clarity.
I found an all-consuming feeling of pride.
Pride in the first responders. Those in uniform, or well-worn sneakers, or ‘go team’ shirts that cast off crippling fear and fought through gruesome destruction to aid the wounded; offering pieces of themselves, belts for tourniquets, fingers to stanch bleeding, comfort, calmness, strength, and selflessness to save lives.
Pride in the self-awareness of those most deeply affected, who offered up help to law enforcement in an attempt to aid in the capture of souls gone adrift and lost in hatred.
Pride in the anonymous masses to care enough to donate their time, their money, their prayers, to wonderful people who will need all the support they can get in their uphill battles of rehabilitation and healing.
Pride in my alma mater, Boston College, for setting forth into the world some of the most caring individuals that the “good” of humanity can claim as their own. From couples, deeply in love, whose unwavering faith stays strong after loss of limbs, to young adults who took it upon themselves to inspire thousands to join in their plan to finish those last miles for those who could not, the Boston College community showed its true colors, a beacon of light among madness.
And finally, pride in the city I love. A town where I spent four of the best years of my life thus far, a town that is home to some of my dearest friends, and my second home these last few years. Bostonians proved, once again, that nothing and no one could break their spirit. The city banded together offering support, showing strength through adversity, and showing evil that rearing its ugly head in Boston would have dire consequences.
As I walked the cobbled streets of Boston this weekend, past the devastation, I saw tokens of support everywhere. Flowers, signs, smiles between perfect strangers, and the soft, inexplicable glow of strength, of perseverance, of togetherness, and I thought to myself- this is what love looks like.
Boston College 2010