I walked into the auditorium as the first group of Kindergarteners found their spots on the elementary school stage. My tears fell quietly and desperately as I heard the choir of 5 and 6 year old sopranos sing:
“O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!”
The children looked like ivory snow.
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
That was the America God gifted us. My Dominick waved to me and the trail of saline left evidence of my pain in my makeup.
But my heart cried that whole week of the Boston Marathon bombing. That exhaustive sobbing that has just now reduced to a whimper. That week I realized that our eyes get off easy. When your heart cries it’s got the Kryptonite effect. I was drained of my power and felt weak and unable to protect the people of my Metropolis – Boston. Distance amplified my fear and grief. Bruce Springsteen’s “My Hometown” repeated in my head as I evaluated who had reported in to say they were safe. My immediate family was not in harm’s way – but what about so many others? I received emails, voicemails and texts from dozens wanting to know if everyone I knew was ok. I had absolutely no idea how to find that out.
Troy spoke to our pastor in Boston (we always had dozens of guests at church the weekend of the marathon because it is in Boston’s historic “Back Bay.”) Pastor was helping with injuries in makeshift triage of sorts.
My heart breaks.
I can’t tell you how many “Marathon Mondays” I’ve literally spent right there. 15 years ago Troy and I, newly engaged, were pretty much in the exact spot of the blast, cheering on his roommate running the race for the first time. Troy and Mark lived around the corner from the spot of the explosions that year we met. The bomb went off in front of the restaurant where I had my bridal shower one April afternoon in 2002. The glass was completely shattered from the ceiling to the cobblestone.
Now that I’m a mom, I’m can’t shake the thought of the thousands of families that attended and how terrifying it must have been to experience those sonic booms with young children sitting on Dad’s shoulders/neck, or in strollers. The video was truly disturbing and the news about the 8 year old boy and two young girls that died crushed me. That night at bedtime after we said all the obvious prayers, my 8 year old Nathan said, “We better say a prayer for the people that did this, so they don’t do it again.” I know Troy and I taught him that (PRAISE GOD) but in some kind of distorted quantum leap, I felt like he was the teacher and I was the student as I tried to process his words. A bridge stood between us and I wanted to be where he was.
We are the only religion that prays for our enemies because Jesus said, “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?” (Matthew 5:44-46)
I want to behave in a “What Would Jesus Do” manner, really I do, especially when my 8 year old demonstrated it effortlessly. But like a junkie that simply couldn’t stop, I was glued to the news on the Friday night the young man was captured. I kept scanning the crowd awaiting the FBI’s “Gotcha!” You might not know anyone in Watertown, but I do. Let me tell you, they are gems. They remind me so much of my hometown with a large blue collar population, oversized hearts, and a fighting spirit. I knew as I watched the news they were ready to run toward a blast if this young man stupidly tried anything else. Our favorite Saturday morning diner was on the corner of Mount Auburn Street. We saw it on the TV as the reporters updated us and the whole thing felt surreal. I honestly wished it was less familiar. I wanted to be the Christian Nathan was – the one Jesus told us to be – but I wanted them out of my backyard. I wanted the bad guys to get away from what I cherished.
But as I thought about our All Powerful Heavenly Father, I also thought about how much I’d love to see the other half of this street fight – the one where the Heavenly Hosts drew a line in the sand that the demons looked at, weighing their options. I can’t help but think Christ Jesus was there with an “I dare you” stare to the evildoers.
The justice we can enforce here on earth is mere and puny compared to the ultimate justice God the Father will serve. We might not see it here on Earth, but justice is always served by our Just and Righteous Father in Heaven. Satan can’t take our bibles, so he distracts us. Just to take our eyes off the prize of the light in Jesus is a small win for him. Satan knows this isn’t going to work out for him, and anyone that bought his lies will have an eternal sentence. He knows God’s Word cover to cover, and he knows his fate is sealed. Guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus, our Good Shepherd, who has paid the ultimate price to ensure our fate is also sealed in His death and glorious resurrection. Trust in Him. Try, like me, to find peace in that.
Pray for Boston. I can honestly say they need it more than you and I can imagine. But all the while Praise the Lord! God can take what was intended for evil and create good indeed.