When something like what occurred today happens, it is not easy to reflect. Where do you start? Three people who woke up this morning won’t have the privilege of doing so tomorrow. One of those people was 8 years old.
In your head you start to try and imagine what it would feel like if it were you, or worse, someone you know who had been sitting next to the bomb. But it wasn’t. It was the people you’re now seeing splashed across television screens, their lives unraveling as Diane Sawyer comments on her appreciation for the Boston accent. This isn’t meant to sound crass, I know that Diane Sawyer has good intentions and like the rest of us aches for the victims and their families, but we’ve become so used to broadcasting every aspect of these tragedies that it becomes difficult to understand what we’re really watching. We live in a society where terrorist attacks are given their own Twitter hashtag; I can’t help but think the magnitude of what happened is lost somewhere inbetween a tweet about Justin Beiber and #perksofdatingme.
I am by no means immune to the digital measure of self worth mess; I’ve caught my mood being effected by the number of hearts on Instagram… But when a bomb goes off downtown Boston and we’re immediately plugging it into our smart phone, updating our Twitter, posting a blurb on our blog it struck me that all of those things can be done without actually understanding what happened today.
If we dig deeper, we can see into one of the thousands of images. Carlos Arredondo lost one son in Iraq, and the other to suicide after the fact. When the blasts occurred at the Boston Marathon witnesses said he raced towards the chaos and began helping a young male victim who was suddenly missing the lower half of his body. Mr. Arredondo pinched the man’s artery until help arrived.He along with the other people pictured in the photo can teach us all something about what it means to be a human being.
When I saw the photo as I scrolled down the Yahoo homepage, I couldn’t help but think of what I would do in that situation. I would like to think I would be brave, but then I remember the teens who were teasing the kid sitting by himself at the bus stop this morning and how I didn’t say anything.
The thing is, we’re not all going to be capable of being as brave as someone like Mr. Arredondo all of the time, but we’re capable of starting somewhere. It’s easy to forget how our actions affect other people; how life extends well beyond the web of our own friendships and quarrels and mistakes and number of ‘likes’. We’re not expected to be a hero every day, and thankfully we’re usually not put in situations where we’re given the choice, but something I’ve taken away from today is making an effort to be a better person than I was the day before. Waking up in itself is a gift, when was the last time I realized that?
It can be tough to speak up, to keep your chin up, to not point fingers when something awful occurs…but in spite of everything else, if we all just tried to better ourselves in even the most subtle of ways, we would be working towards shifting from who we were to who we’re capable of being. Hold the door for a stranger, take time to stop and pet the dog that walks by, look people in the eye when you say “thank you”, tell someone they look nice today, send someone a hand-written card, call your parents and tell them how much you love them, volunteer, offer to help, listen to Tommy with a candle burning (you get the idea). Work towards a better tomorrow. I don’t say it enough, but I am truly thankful to have such wonderful people in my life and I am sorry it takes days like today for me to wrap my head around that.
May hearts be with Boston tonight.
The photo (please be warned it is EXTREMELY tough to view and very graphic) http://i.imgur.com/sxpqA7S.jpg