Shining a Light on the Boston Massacre

Shining a Light on the Boston Massacre

Ryan Eason, staff writer

We face a never-ending struggle between light and darkness. Whether this opposition exists in spiritual recesses between angels and demons, in actions between heroes and villains, in outcomes between fate and coincidence, or within the very confines of our own hearts and minds is subject to the beliefs of the reader.

But it is tremendously and invariably true that our world is inhabited by evil.

A crystal clear example of such a presence was provided for us last week in the guise of two bombs detonated at the finish line of the famous (and soon to be infamous) Boston Marathon. While many of the facts and causes of the event remain unclear as of now, there is one fact that should send chills down to the very core of our beings.

There were bombs at the end of a marathon.

Regardless of soon-to-be-discovered motives and condemnations, at the nucleus of such an act is undeniable evil at its most virulent and senseless.

And unfortunately, the hundreds of lives directly affected by the disaster are out of our control (and no amount of facebook likes can change that) save for prayers and warm thoughts. But your life, however, is very much your own. You’ve watched the news stories, read the tweets, and listened to the talk on the streets. While you may not have been running in a thin white singlet and finger-length shorts in Boston that day, this event is a part of your life now.

So, how should you respond?

The answer, and one that is irrevocably true, is to be a light when such darkness is present. No darkness can never be wholly eliminated, but it can be curtailed. A frightened child can rest at night needing only a faint light seeping in under the crack of his door to remind him that mom and dad are home. Similarly, even small amounts of “good” are enough in everyday life. The light may be dim, sometimes almost imperceptible. But it is there.

And it is simple. Light is telling a joke in class that makes your crush giggle. Light is being a shoulder to cry on. Light is taking a walk through your neighborhood on a perfect summer night. Light is appreciating that fickle concept of “now”. Light, simply, is making life slightly more incredible for others and yourself. One moment and one action at a time.

Those seemingly insignificant measures with which life becomes magnificent and worth smiling about are deep-rooted in our makeup. So it is not necessarily heroism (a trait not innately ingrained into the flawed composition of humankind) that changes a life, but rather straightforward and graceful embellishment of it. Against a gargantuan world of bombings, cancer, and frankly, humanity, it may admittedly cause some to ask, “is the good thing that comes in small packages all we have to hope for?”

Is that all? Reader, it is humanity’s most incredible asset.

The world simply shut off the light on September 11, 2001. It shut it off again in Aurora and Sandy Hook this past year. And now, our society is stuck again in a room of darkness, temporarily blinded, unsure of which way to turn and of which voices to obey. Take comfort in the knowledge that we have a powerful light to shine; an ability and a duty to make our life and the lives of others more valuable with one increment of joy at a time. It will not cure evil, and it never will. But we can fight. We can smile. We can finish the race some hapless marathoners were unable to on a fateful Monday afternoon.

So before labeling the events of April 15, 2013 an inconsolable tragedy, ask yourself a brief question. Is it catastrophe, or opportunity?

Make life beautiful, if only while we can.