Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What I Know To Do When Tragedy Strikes

Yesterday, when the news broke about the explosions at the Boston Marathon, my heart sunk, and thought, "Here we go again...".  

As a member of the media, it is a fine line to walk when sharing the news about an event like this.  I want to share the facts, but they are often unclear and unsatisfying at the time when people are the hungriest for details.  I don't want to downplay any of what occurred or leave anything pertinent out, but also don't want to embellish or editorialize. 

I remember when 9/11 occurred, in the chaos that ensued afterwards, and the frantic scramble to get information out to those that needed it.  We did the best we could, and yet, still felt drastically inadequate. 

So, this morning, before I came to work.  I said a simple prayer, "God, please help me to share what needs to be shared.  Please help me to know what needs to be said." 

And the prayer was answered.

This morning, as I logged onto Facebook and Twitter, I saw a trend that warmed my heart:  a flat out insistence to focus on the positive.  When tragedies like these occur, it's easy to get mired down in the awfulness, the carnage, the fear, the damage done, or at least, it is for me.  However, today, I am encouraged by the fact that most people seem to be focusing on the positive. 

Hundreds of thousands of people have shared the message from comedian and actor Patton Oswalt (which you can read HERE, in it's entirety), where he sums up his post with:  "So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, "The good outnumber you, and we always will."

Author Elizabeth Gilbert posted this today:  "What I've taken to doing in instances like this is to use my heartache as a motivation to reach out deeper into my own community, offering help to those who are suffering right in front of me. I do this quite consciously in the name of all those who are out of my reach — in the name of all those whom I cannot assist. With Boston's anguish in my heart, then, I will be making offerings in the coming week to my local cancer support center, to my local Habitat for Humanity, to my local food pantry. Does it make sense for me to do this? I don't know, but somehow doing this always eases my heart at least somewhat.

My friend, Mike, who lives in Boston posted this morning about the incredible bravery of the first responders and other people that wanted to help:  "As Boston gets back to it's feet this morning, I am once again thrilled to see the bravery and humanity of the people of this city...as the first responders did during 9/11, as soon as these bombs tore through the crowds, the heroes ran to help those injured. Did you see former patriot Joe Andruzzi carrying a survivor from the scene, just as his brothers had done in the towers that day in New York? You can mess with us, but the good people outnumber the bad. Try to take us down? You failed. AGAIN."

Another friend, Kevin, made this point:  "To me yesterday was about hero's. Seeing all those people run towards the danger. To help other human beings. It's amazing. It will always overpower those who want to do harm. I wish the people who did this would see what I see - no matter what you do - love always wins. You may temporarily set it back for a moment - but it always triumphs." 

So, THAT is what I am going to focus my energy on today:  the POSITIVE. I think that Mr. Rogers said it best:  
I am going to look for the helpers - and BE one of them, too.  We can donate blood at the American Red Cross (they are always in need), visit the elderly, hug the sick, share a smile with the downtrodden. Kindness breeds kindness...and the world, and my own heart, need that. 

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