“I hope we don’t go to war because of this.”
After the horror of the Boston marathon bombing, this fear of national retaliation hovered in many conversations last week.
It is hard enough to sort through the feelings about the death and injuries, but to simultaneously juggle the fear of war is too much.
It was a violent week. Boston. West, Texas with the Fertilizer Plant fire. Corinth, Mississippi with the poison tainted letters mailed to President Obama and Senator Roger Wicker. The defeat of the gun control laws. Fifty killed on the streets of Baghdad last Monday. Nuclear plans afoot in North Korea. Violent deaths in Darfur, Nigeria and Iraq.
Many people rushed in to help in all of these situations. Lives were saved even as others were lost. Miracles and gifts amid the horror.
It is hard for a person or nation to hold so much grief and shock. It is easier to turn to scapegoating or retaliation, dividing the world into “us” and “them,” “good guys” and “bad guys.” Another option is to stay with the painful feelings that tragedies stir up in us, sinking into the reality that life is never really safe.
Unfortunately, being with our raging fears and vulnerability as they move through and out of our minds and bodies is a skill that we in the West have been slow to practice.
On the other side of our fear of the inevitability of death and the possibility of terror, is the possibility of cherishing each new day and our relationships with others. In the midst of joy and woe, transformation is possible.
I pray, along with my daughter, Laura, and many others: I hope we don’t go to war because of this.