On Monday, April 15, a state holiday, I went to work. I went to work so I could take the rest of school vacation week off and spend it with my child. I logged on to Facebook a few times during the day for kicks during breaks. But by early afternoon I was crunching to get work done so I could leave. So I didn’t hear the news until I turned on the radio for my drive home. I promptly started to cry and spoke out loud to my empty car, “what is going on? why is this happening? how could this stuff happen?”
And then I stuck my head in the sand because I couldn’t handle not having answers to questions I don’t want to ask. And I needed to be tear-free to drive home to my child. I needed to be home with my child.
When I got home, I took my head out long enough to text a friend and find out if she was okay. By bedtime, I had vicariously determined that everyone I personally know in Boston is unharmed. But I did not read the news, listen to the news, watch the news, or digest news in any form.
The next day, back at work, my colleague casually said her husband had been called out, of course. He’s on the SWAT team. And although we’re two hours outside of Boston, everyone was on high alert. I didn’t respond. I couldn’t respond. I shrugged and buried my head even deeper. Willing the sand to fill my ears as I breathed in the filtered salty air beneath.
It’s Friday night. I have spent an oblivious three days with my child. Beautiful vacation days with gardening and giggling, rolling in grass, and getting dirt under our finger nails. Silly dances in the kitchen, stuffed animal circuses, salty snacks, and ice cream. The comfort of this little rural city that I love so much.
And then i went on Facebook and my oblivion has been shattered. I feel sick to my stomach. My friends are in Boston, Waltham, Watertown, Stoneham, Newton. You name the Boston area town and I’ve got a friend there. One post led to another article which led to another picture. Pictures you have all looked at since Monday but I have dutifully ignored. So I cry tears of fear for you. Tears for your terrifying nights, your amputated limbs, your broken hearts, and your lost lives. Guilty tears of relief that I live out here. I live out here. Where horses graze in pasture ten minutes from my home, where I never walk to town without seeing someone I know, where my child wanders free on a street full of neighbors who know her name, know her mother, and know to keep her safe. I cry guilty tears of relief that we are okay. I cry tears of fear that the the world is just too big and just too close for all of us to be okay.
May my tears bring breath. May my breath bring peace. May peace bring heart. May heart bring listening. May listening bring generosity.