Recently, I put myself on a “news fast.”
For those unfamiliar, a “news fast” is a current method of reducing overall stress and anxiety in one’s life. It’s very easy. To be on a “news fast” is to pull the plug on the news. No watching it on television. No reading the paper. No surfing news channels on the Internet.
A news fast is designed to stop that relentless flow of catastrophic news and frightening events that can make it seem that the world is spiraling out of control.
My news fast ended abruptly last Monday, April 15 when the bombs went off at the Boston Marathon. With the rest of the nation, I was locked in position in front of the computer and the television, watching the horrific toll on humanity unfold. I continually monitored the manhunt and ultimate apprehension of the bombers throughout the day, at work and at home.
All I could think about was how devastating this act of terror was. All I could do was offer up prayers for the people who had started out the day running on a spring day in Boston and ended up mutilated or killed because a couple of men planted pressure cooker bombs in the crowd.
Are acts of terror unknown to us as the American people? Sadly, of course not.
Have these kinds of attacks happened before? Yes, they have.
The Oklahoma City bombing of 1995, the Atlanta bombing in 1996, the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, and recent heart-breaking school shootings remind us that tragedy can strike at the hands of others at any time. Anywhere. And not just here, but around the world, ordinary human beings suffer random attacks of terrorism more and more frequently.
So, how do we go about our daily lives when our world is increasingly and more randomly violent?
We can’t stop living, too afraid to run a race, go to work, or school, or any of the other things we do everyday. But we can’t pretend that nothing bad will ever happen either.
I don’t have any answers for how to live in a world where random bombings and acts of violence can kill and injure innocent people.
But as I sat on my porch and thought about Boston, and all the tragic, senseless acts of violence that have occurred in the last two decades, I focused on trays of small seedlings that my son and our neighbor had planted for our little vegetable garden this year. The tiny, green plants had just broken through the dirt and were pointing towards the warm sun.
It’s the small things. Planting seeds, enjoying a sunrise, being with our children and friends, sharing meals.
It’s a cliché but there is truth in it. Live every day like it’s our last. Tell our families we love them. It’s the simple things in living that bring the sanity back.