Fragments of thoughts: A nine-year old boy's last act in this world was to joyfully hug and kiss his father. Strangers rushed into the mayhem, not knowing if the danger was past, to rescue survivors. Strangers with their arms wrapped around one another. Moments, not knowing if there might be many more bombs, in many more cities, remembering 9/11. Panicked hours, trying to get through to friends who might have been running, might have been waiting to cheer loved ones at the finish line. Doctors operating around the clock, facing wartime carnage. Video, photographs, pouring into FBI offices from spectators who might have clues, who knows?

Those same videos and photographs online, many with warnings: Graphic Material. Think again before clicking. Are you sure you want to see this? I click. And am stunned and revolted. Why did I have to look? I keep thinking about this. I wanted to be with the victims. I wanted to cut through the understandable, protective distance we put between ourselves and catastrophe. I wanted to see exactly what we lost, in those bombings.  The grisly scene, the visitation of evil, is very, very hard to bear. Even for people trained to bear it.

But in Boston we lost more than lives, and limbs. More than the shared celebration of a run, accomplished. We lost trust. So much of life is built on trust; that strikes me most of all, these days. We trust the people we love to be present, thoughtful, reliable, not to let us down; trust is love's cornerstone. But we also trust blindly, we trust strangers. We trust that we can walk down the street safely. We trust that people have done their work well, that the elevator cable will not snap; the airplane's bolts will hold. We trust that the milk is uncontaminated, that the water is clean. We trust that we can run, safe, free, lungs straining for air, every breath precious, towards loving arms waiting at the finish line. When that trust is destroyed it feels like the most precious, though invisible, fabric that wraps our lives together is torn open, and we go into a sickening free fall of despair.

We cannot function without trust--not in the smallest private moments, and not in the large, public ways. But every once in a while, we get a glimpse of what it means to have that trust destroyed. That is why terrorism is so powerful. We all lose the trust, wherever we are, regardless of whether we are at the marathon or at our desks.  And that make us more aware of how precious it is, that social compact that we try to be our best selves--as were the people who rushed to the rescue; their noble actions are the beginning of restoring trust. Faith. We will all run again, mingle in crowds again, trust again. But losing that trust must make us all the more determined to cherish it.



susan st.john said...

Terrorists are cowards or monsters or perhaps both. When someone makes a bomb and plants it, the perpetrator has no way of knowing who will be killed. If there is a political agenda, perhaps someone will be killed who believes in your cause.I know most of us cannot understand how someone would kill so indiscriminately.

I work in a public school so, unfortunately, I understand every day how trust has been betrayed. I know that if someone wants to harm and kill, there are many ways to accomplish that terrible goal. There is a quote by Fred Rogers making its way around on the internet about the helpers who rise up during these awful times. Most people will do the right thing when bad things happen.

The media disturbs me during these times. They fixate on certain horrible crimes and turn a blind eye to other terrible happenings around the world. Other countries have almost daily bombings, but we only care when it effects "certain" people. Sometimes, I can understand the anger of certain terrorists when they feel marginalized. I do not condone their actions, but I can understand their anger.

William said...

It's a tough one.

Assuming this was a by some domestic Islamic Extremist and not by some crazy anti-government hillbilly, it's hard to square that we have killed about 200 innocent children with our predator drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen and yet focus on that fact hardly at all - they are called 'collateral damage'.

We're at war with religious extremists - a war we didn't start. Many would argue that statement. Do we stand down because of another attack within our borders? Or do we remain thankful that the attacks here aren't able to happen every day and accept that this is just part of our new world?

The scary thing with this attack is, one, that it was successful, and two, that there was no intelligence warning of it.

mary said...

Yes, we will trust again.

karensandburg said...

i was struck by the news today that congress let us down on the gun control bills. they didn't even pass background checks. there is more terrorism in this country by the mentally ill among us than by foreign terrorists. the fact that 90% of the population wants some kind of gun control and congress didn't deliver shows us how completely dismissive our "representatives" are of what we want... Talk about trust.

Emma said...

No, Mary, we won't, at least not with a whole heart. Nor should we, in these times we have to either throw caution to the wind or become curtailed in our activities. At the very least we have to become more diligent to what is going on around us. But, straight trust across the board.....no.

Gayla Pappenfoht said...

This is really true... Such a lot depends on that invisible cord of trust....

dterrydraw said...

Thank you, Dominique......beautiful, movingly sincere writing, as always.
david Terry

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Rebecca Ladd said...

Thank you for writing about this. So many are going on as if nothing has happened. I feel a seismic shift in my world because of this week.

DeltaBluesChick said...

I have been so sad about all of this, but I have also marveled at the human spirit to overcome. I looked at the pictures, too. I felt I needed to do it to have a semblance of understanding about what these people went through and so that I would not forget them when the media parade passes.

My ancestors were some of the first settlers in that area, and while I live far to the south, I have a special place in my heart for Boston and the stubborn spirit of its inhabitants. It seems like a city that is "family", and it's going to take that familial love and strength to help the injured meet the next chapter of their lives.