Friends, I wrote a post for A Deeper Church this week. On the tragedy in Boston, on beauty and ruin, and how sometimes the bravest thing we can do is hold both at the same time.
On Monday, people died cheering for their loved ones at the finish line of a race that has always existed as a celebration, a challenge to accomplish, a dream to make real. For the Boston Marathon that innocence has been stolen. Violence always steals and ruins.
On Monday my friend Kristin was in the crowd with friends, cheering for a buddy. I saw her Instagram before the bombing. A friend of hers was holding a mask with their running friend’s face on it. They were laughing. When the bomb exploded, they weren’t standing by the finish line. They were somewhere else. They were okay. But violence always alters. Who can ever be the same?
Three days before, my friends Andy and Catherine lost a dear friend to cancer. He was a wonderful man, the father of four young children, the husband of one grieving wife.
On Sunday in Somalia, a bomb exploded inside the country’s Supreme Court. Thirty-five people died.
On Monday in Uganda, a widowed woman could not fight back when her land and home were taken from her unjustly.*
In Mumbai, a young girl was stolen from her home and forced into a life of sex work.*
In Nairobi, another child (of tens of thousands) lost his parents to AIDS and he has no one to care for him, in a city filled with orphaned children and hopeless disease. *
On Monday, a boyfriend used fists as weapons, battered the face of his beloved.
Violence always steals. Injustice always destroys lives.
On Monday, I cried in the dining room. I stood beside the table, after reading an angry email, an email written carelessly, an email that whispered my incompetence as a mother, my failure as a neighbor. I cried with my forehead against my husband’s chest, because I’ve tried, because I want to bring peace, because I cannot force another soul to meet me with peace in return. Because peace begins with our ability to see each other’s failures with compassion and compassion is hard to come by.
Peace begins with two people, with me and with you. Peace begins with our words, our gentle touch, our willingness to look into one another’s worlds and say, “Oh, that’s why.”