Boston Marathon Attacks: Lessons from Mr Rogers and Whitney Houston

Today, I find myself the same way I found myself after the Sandy Hook school shootings, the same way I found myself in the days after Hurricane Sandy, and the same way I found myself after September 11, 2001.  All those days I was left teary eyed and questioning -- a huge lump in my throat.  I'm questioning how this world, this great country called the USA, can endure such tragedy -- in three of the cases -- at the hands of fellow man.  We will survive.  We will come out stronger, and we will find bring justice -- that much I know.  But what I don't know is WHY does this keeping happening and WHAT is WRONG with our world

On Monday, when I got the AP News Alert on my phone that there had been two explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon I got instant chills.  My heart was racing and my head spinning.  I had two friends running the race -- one of them raised thousands of dollars for a sponsor child associated with Boston's Children's Hospital.  These were thousands of racers running for a cause - cut short by an individual or a group trying to..what? bring attention to their cause which can be explained as nothing more than hate? It's sick.  It's just sick.

The images of the 79 year old man collapsing on the street just feet from the finish line as the first blast knocked him to the ground -- it's sick.  The terror in the faces of the people running for their lives -- it's agonizing to see their pain.  The uncertainty I felt in my own heart and mind as I tried desperately to reach my two friends -- it's sickening.  It was hours before I finally learned they were both okay and both reunited with their large cheering squads -- many of whom were gathered near the finish line.  Despite writing for a living, I am at a loss for words -- it's just sick.

Perhaps the part that makes it the most difficult for me is the fact that I've now had this gut wrenching, tear-inducing, helpless feeling three times in the last seven months.

It's been 12 years since 911 and that was the first time I experienced it.   On September 11, 2001, I was a junior at Ithaca College running on a treadmill believing I was watching a movie until I saw the Live Breaking News banners and life as I knew it was instantly defined as pre and post 9/11.  That life-shattering event shaped my career as a TV news producer.   I'd even go so  far as to say it defined my television career because five years later on September 11, 2006 I found myself, now a field producer in Johnstown, PA (the television market which includes Shanksville where Flight 93 went down) standing on the edge of a jet sized crater in the middle of a field in the middle of Somerset County telling the story of pure evil and hate while juxtaposing it with even more stories of heroism.  It was some of my proudest work --- ironically it was alongside my friend who, yesterday, ran 25.5 miles in her first Boston Marathon. 

Fast forward to late 2012 and the events of the last seven months have more than anything shaped who I am, today, as a mother.  I had that sick feeling back on 9/11, but now as a mother, it's amplified. Like - 'What is going on in this world that I willingly brought children into?' and 'How dare you mess with my babies and their innocence, their sense of security, and their future!'  Why is this happening at this frequency?  What world are we handing over to our children? So many questions....so few answers.

That string of thoughts struck me with such force today -- as my children sat innocently in the backseat of the car singing along to a CD of church camp music which was blaring "You, you, you, you can trust God. You can trust Him by His word...and give Him your heart."  The words somehow seemed louder and more pronounced today and they continue to ring in my head.

RIP Martin Richard (age 8) (Courtesy Huffington Post)
Yes, I trust that God will lead investigators to the murderers, that He will serve ultimate justice, and that He will take care of poor, innocent 8 year old Martin Richard who lost his life while eating an ice cream cone.  That little boy's life was taken in the blink of an eye and for what?  I trust that God will shelter him from any further pain, but the pain and the lump left in my (and I suspect, the world's) throat continues today as I struggle to understand why such a good and loving God would allow such tragedy to strike such innocence.

I find some peace knowing that perhaps it's as Mr. Roger's suggested that in times likes these, when there is such senseless evil, that
it's all a reminder of the good in the world - of all the helpers.  Perhaps it's to remind us to that in times of tragedy the acts of kindness outweigh and outnumber the acts of evil.  Perhaps it's to remind me to cherish my children and their pure innocence and to do something good today to help change this world because at the rate we are going I am scared to death to hand it over to them.  At this moment, Whitney Houston's words have never been truer...
I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be
The children are the future and I want mine to have one...one where they don't have to be scared to walk outside or eat an ice cream or cheer their daddy on at another marathon.

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