Once again, in the face of unthinkable tragedy – this time much closer to home than any of us here in Boston would like – Mark Morford says the thing I need to hear, and that I wanted to say myself.
I’ve asked here before how we humans are meant to deal with the tragedies that erupt around us every day, especially now that we hear about it instantly and relentlessly. Increasingly, trauma happens to us not just when we are directly faced with a tragedy, but secondarily, when we are exposed to constant atrocities in our world.
Says Mark Morford:
We are not built for this. We are not designed, at our core, to be able to absorb, at a glance and a click, a tweet and a ruthless video feed, all the ills and horrors of the world, all at once, all manner of chaos and destruction in a nonstop bloody flood over which we are powerless to influence and impotent to stop.
So what do you do when something like this happens – as it seems to, increasingly, in recent times?
You gather in, hold tight, and take care of those close to you. As feeble as it sounds, as meek as you feel, this is the only way. This is also the best way. To help. To be a part. To avoid shutting down, hardening, adding more suspicion and mistrust to the world.
The outpouring of love and support not just locally but globally; the inspiring vision of marathoners completing the race, then continuing to run to hospitals to donate blood; the heroism of first responders, firefighters and others – it’s all made for one inspiring week in the face of tragedy. And unlike the aftermath of 9/11, it feels like the first response here isn’t one of revenge, of hardening against whatever enemy emerges. It feels like it may be, really this time, about banding together.
This is the most essential reminder of all, is it not? A handful of violent sociopaths will never match, much less defeat, the support and care of tens of millions. Those who wish harm and damage upon humanity will never outnumber those who enable, empower and heal. The odds are in our favor. They always are. This is why we are still alive. Maybe the only reason.
We are still here, supporting each other, enabling, empowering and healing. My wish for all reading this is that you might find it in yourself to stay open during this time, to reach out to others, to bring caring and love to those who need it, and to not shut down, grow hard, let this event – the onslaught of events – close you off to humanity.
And anyway, as Stephen Colbert reminds us: we’re tougher than that.