How can I not write about this? As I look over my schedule of blogs, I can’t help but immediately bump out one of the Topic Tuesday’s in order to talk about what we all went through last week as a nation -- but what more can really be said?
I had friends who were running last Monday. One had been across the finish line for nearly 5 minutes before the explosions took place. Her friends were a few miles behind her. Thankfully, none of them were near the bomb site. It took them nearly 24 hours to be re-united. I can only imagine the joy and relief they felt to hold each other, knowing they were okay. Yet, my heart breaks for everyone who knew each of the victims, including the officers who sacrificed their safety in the days following the attack. Their lives will never be the same.
This is where we all have an internal struggle, at least I know that I do. When I look back at my life, my generation has seen the fall of the Berlin wall & the end of communism in Russia, we’ve witness the horror of the Unibomber, the Oklahoma City bombing, The World Trade Center bombing in ’93 followed by the devastating second attempt of 9/11, The Gulf War, the War following 9/11, The fall of Saddam Hussein, The rising of other dangerous dictators, and so on. The things my generation has witnessed are quickly and easily coming close to, if not surpassing the things my parents generations witnessed...at least it appears that way. Perhaps it’s because we are so much more connected in the world with the technologies we all have. I was up for hours following the various news & twitter feeds of the chase of the young men responsible for the events of 4/15. I watched until my eyes were too heavy to hold open. When they did, that was the first thing they were determined to find again. I prayed as I watched it all unfold. I prayed for the safety of the officers, for the innocent civilians they were protecting, and I prayed that some how, some way, these guys would give up or be caught! There was relief when it was over, but then the struggle hit. Just like it did during the gulf war (I was 10). Just like it did in ’95 after the Oklahoma bombing. Just like it did after Columbine. And just like it did on 9/11. The struggle between feeling hopeless and wanting to find a way for their to be peace in this world.
I’ve had some interesting conversations this week. Conversations that have helped me ask unique questions that direct me on how to handle this inner struggle. What is the tone of the culture we set? Most say, we’re Americans, the tone is one of freedom and the ability to be who you want to be. I think that is still at our core, but I would argue it is not the tone we are setting as a whole. One look at the news feed on my facebook page tells me that. The disregard and disrespect for each others political stances makes me so sick that where I once enjoyed a friendly chat about politics, I find I’d rather avoid the topic altogether. We have set a tone of narcissism and self-righteousness -- but where does this tone come from? It comes from our leaders.
A friend asked me and a few others about customer service this week. “Where was the last place you had amazing customer service,” she asked. None of us could think of any place right off the top of our heads. “What do you think it is that makes certain places have excellent customer service, while others fail,” she continued. We all started thinking and responded. My best friend jumped in and talked about “the Subway syndrome,” and how her logic begs the question be asked, “do you get to go home if you don’t make me this sandwich?” She makes a great point to be discussed in another blog, but it got me thinking about my experience working for large corporations. It’s the executive that sets the tone for the rest of the company. It’s the pastor of a church that sets the tone for their congregation. It’s the mayor and city council members that set the tone for the businesses and residents in their communities. And so it goes for our national leaders. We’ve seen in with every president, every congress, every senate, and every supreme court. They have responsibilities to their offices and political parties, sure, but first and foremost they have a responsibility to us. The tone Boston set was incredible. The leaders responded quickly and with strength. They were respectful while being respected. They were there for one reason and one reason only: to protect their city. It made me so proud. It makes me want to re-consider the tone in which I communicate to the world around me. And it gives me a sense of calm and peace to ask the further questions and be willing to accept and seek to understand the answers, whether I like them or not. So how do we get this beautiful nation to work together like Boston did? How do we work past the evil that exists all around us and uncover the good? How do we let God be God without putting up our fists to defend why my relationship with Him is more valid than yours? How do we become a culture not just intolerant of hatred towards one another, but vigilant in helping each other discover the truth of our beauty and go on the offense to push back hatred before it develops?
The point is, there is evil in this world. My faith reminds me that heaven on earth is a gimmick. I can bring heaven to earth in pieces, but ultimately, eternity does not exist on here. For me to put my hope in earth is to put my hope in the temporary. So how do I bring heaven to earth during the time I get to live on it? How can I set a tone that makes no room for terrorists or tyrants and sets loose the truths that make us into the beautiful creation that we are, where faith, hope, and love are the rulers? How do I forgive without turning into a doormat and letting people who intend to harm overrule my Love?
I may not have the answers, but I am most definitely willing to ask the questions.
To Boston, let me reiterate my pride, respect, and compassion towards you. You are a wonderful and incredible city. I am humbled by your resolve and cannot wait to visit you and share in the beautiful spirit you have!
My prayers to all the families affected by that and the many other tragedies around our nation this week continue. I really do love this country and its people.
Until next time,
Take care of your hearts and ears!
~Listen With Your Heart~