Last week was a horrific week. Like everyone else, I was glued to my television watching the manhunt after the Boston marathon bombings. I didn’t sleep well at night because I needed to know what was going to happen next. I had family members within an hour of Boston.
Then, when the earth shook only two hours from me with the plant explosion in West, Texas, I was again up most of the night hoping the numbers weren’t as bad as they first appeared.
I started thinking, mostly about the bombing suspects. I wasn’t overly judgmental, but I didn’t have a lot of compassion for them either. I did what I do every time there’s a tragedy of that nature – I put myself in the shoes of those involved…
We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.
The Suspects: Suspect #1 (I am choosing not to put their names, for the same reason you won’t see their pictures in this post.) had a 3-year-old daughter. What could possibly compel him to take the path he did? I don’t think there’s anything I would be more passionate about than my child. My children come first. I honestly don’t even know if I would be able to do what Abraham did and be willing to sacrifice Isaac if God requested it of me. I don’t know that I could put God above my children. (If I’m being completely honest. I mean, I say it’s God, my husband, then my kids, but if it came down to it?) What legacy has he left for his daughter now? I pray that I leave something behind that Braden and Tenley can be proud of.
The Suspects’ Parents: I wonder about the parents of the people who commit these awful crimes. If my child did something like this (I know, no one wants to ever imagine it could be their child, but go with me for a minute…) would I defend them and say it couldn’t possibly have been them? Would I turn them in? Would I even know if they were ever that troubled? I pray that I raise them to never be these people or do these awful things.
The Victims: How awful it must have been to be there that day. To witness that carnage. To have my life changed. Would I be okay losing a limb or would I be angry and not want to go on living? What if I were the parent of someone injured? I think about the family that lost the 8-year-old boy and I know what that’s like. I know the profound sadness. I also know what it’s like to then have other family members also suffering. The boy’s mom had a brain injury and the sister lost a leg. Not only does that dad need to grieve the loss of his son, but he has to worry about the healing of his wife and daughter; celebrate their progress. For me, it’s that Carter’s brother and sister both had serious medical issues. But, they were alive. It’s a unique thing to celebrate and mourn at the same time. It’s hard to see the victims and not immediately have compassion. I pray that other parents never have to endure this type of pain.
The Bystanders and First-Responders: I would like to think that if in the same situation, I would have run towards the chaos and helped, shown compassion, rather than away to safety. But, would I? Now that I have children, I’m not sure that I would have. (Another moment of honesty that is hard to swallow…) Because running to the chaos would have been putting Braden and Tenley’s mom in danger. And, that’s hard to think about. It’s hard to think about them not having me around. I pray I never have to make a decision like this and that they never have to suffer if I do.
I don’t know about you, but looking at it from someone else’s view can be very sobering and put things into perspective. It’s quite the reality check.
Deanna Parmenter says
As a former First Responder who had young children at the time, I can remember that my first thought was doing my job to help the person/people in trouble. I did not think about my kids at that point. I was on the job and sometimes danger was part of that job. But seeing a child who had been hit by a car, or a victim of domestic violence, or car accident victims tore at my heart. It was at those moments that I would come home from the station and hug my kids, hold them tight, and tell them I loved them. We may never understand why someone is driven to do such horrible things, but we can choose how we respond to those acts. And seeing things from another’s vewpoint is the first step to understanding.
I remember that, and I never felt like I was being put second. Thanks for reminding me of the other side! 🙂