Posted from Greater Boston April 16, 2013. When sleep wasn’t an option, as night edged toward morn, the truth found its way into my heart and my head. I’d kept it at bay with constant social media updates of who’d been found, how to get info, that cell phones and airspace around Boston were denied, and then an impromptu ice cream run with Leisa. But at 3 am I awoke and started the insomniacs list of chores. The rabbits were fed and cages cleaned, litter boxes changed, the carpet swept of hay (no vacuums allowed in quiet mode) and the bathroom sink and faucet polished to shiny. I’d restored order to my house. And then the stillness of the night accosted my reserve. With nothing left to occupy my mind and hands, the tears that had been stalled by my busy-ness pumped their way into my eyes and started a slow salty track down my tired face. The world was changed again and I was helpless in the face of its vagaries.
The day’s story for me unfolded its first devastating petal on Twitter, “two explosions at the Boston Marathon”. My husband, home sick, needed sleep more than news and it was probably one of those manhole cover deals anyway. So I scoured the news sites and channels for several minutes before the confirming stories (undoubtedly being vetted first) started filtering in. Time to wake up Jon. My husband and I shared updates, sitting in info central (my office) comparing stories and checking out source reliability with two cell phones, one laptop, one tablet and one TV flipping from site to site and station to station. Anyone I knew who’d been at the Marathon was safe, but that was small consolation to the 100+ who’d been injured, or worse. My relief turned to guilt every time I was tempted to say, “Thank God, at least so and so is safe.” As if that person was more deserving of safety based merely on his or her connection to my life.
After dinner I sought out the distraction of mindless television, “Dancing With the Stars” shifted to a different station so non-stop news updates would not be interrupted. But a continuous scroll at the bottom of the screen offered casualty count updates and locals, Tom Bergeron and Aly Raisman, expressed their heartfelt support, so it wasn’t as mindless as I’d hoped. Eventually emotional exhaustion overwhelmed my staring eyes, and closed them to the chaos of the day.
And then it was 3 a.m. and I was up again to face reality. By 3:30 am, with tears plopping on the thick white fur of my resting bunny, the contempt was rising. The contempt for humans, for this mess of the world, for the futility of all good things. I headed back to the computer and FaceBook. And ultimately, post by post, my “friends” helped me find perspective.
The Guinea Pig Whisperer of MSPCA Nevins Farm Uli Thomann elicited an unexpected smile and reinforced my initial belief that animals are better behaved than humans with one of his posts. And so, the conversion of my hardening heart began.
Then George Takei’s share of the Fred Rogers quote and BISH editorial cartoon started the process of devilifying humanity.
I remembered one of the first international supportive tweets that I read came from Darrell Dexter Premier of Nova Scotia, the province that supplies the giant Boston Christmas tree every year, and saw another Uli Thomann FB post that shared the NYC Light Brigade message from Brooklyn, NY.
Nancy Irvine’s shared the belief that all the world is one.
Julie Kautz Mills shared the wisdom of Gandhi.
My husband Jonathan Campbell responded eloquently to his niece when she asked “What’s the matter with the world?”
“What I told someone else earlier, what is RIGHT with the world is the number of people who ran towards the blast to help. What is RIGHT with the world are the marathon runners who continued on to the hospital to offer to give blood.
Amidst the momentary mists of misery and evil, there was faithfulness and sacrificial love for strangers in peril.
” The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it. ”
And finally Mark Harry Harding re-posted the words of Martin Luther King Jr.
And I realized I was not powerless to the vagaries. I, no, we all, have our roles to play in making this a better world. It’s 4:55 right now and a few birds have started tweeting their own messages of the day. And, I am headed to bed because if I am going to get my part right, I need some sleep. I have work to do. A new day is coming.
©2013 by Alison Colby-Campbell