April 16, 2013

Boston

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When I first saw the CNN alert on my phone yesterday about two explosions at the Boston marathon, I didn't really think much of it. I thought, Oh, thank goodness only two people... Because it could've been so much worse! And then I carried on with my taxes.

Not that it wasn't a big deal, but that I'm so desensitized to things like this that I didn't think much of it until I started seeing information about it EVERYWHERE. 

When I stopped later to read more about it (I still haven't seen video footage. I don't think I want to...), it hit me that I'm used to hearing about things like this... in OTHER countries. Not here in the U.S. And since then, I've had a whole range of thoughts/feelings. 

Why would someone do something like this?? WHO would do something like this?? Why Boston?? Where else?? (After the planes hit the World Trade Center, other planes crashed in DC, Pennsylvania, etc.) I knew they heightened security here in DC. I heard on NPR that they blocked off Pennsylvania Avenue between 15th and 17th. The usually annoying metro announcement, "Is that your bag?" didn't seem as annoying anymore. My Monday night class is just a few blocks (half a mile!) away from the White House, and in part because I didn't want to deal with riding the metro and -- maybe a tiny part because I was scared? -- I chose to drive to school last night instead of riding the metro. I've never seen so many police cars out in DC at the same time! They were driving on the streets; hiding in driveways, behind bushes, and in the middle of traffic circles; etc. I wasn't sure whether I should feel safer or more concerned to see so many of them out... (Unimportant/unrelated sidebar: I'll tell you this, though. One by-product of so many cops out is that I was late to class! I think everyone on the roads was afraid to drive even a mile over the speed limit, soooo it took me longer to drive to school than it normally would.)

We talked about Boston at school. I talked about Boston with my classmates after class. I talked about Boston with the guy in the elevator with me at Trader Joe's. And now that it's been a day, I'm still processing, but I'm still in shock. You know that Primary song, "Follow the Prophet?"  The last verse says, 

"Now we have a world where people are confused. 
If you don't believe it, go and watch the news.
We can get direction all along our way, 
if we heed the Prophets-- Follow what they say."

I feel like these words are so true right now. We are seeing the signs of the times, and it can be terribly unsettling. But I know that even when things are dark, and even when we face the unknown, God's hand is in our lives. Elder Cook's talk from LDS General Conference just last week spoke directly to this. He even referenced the terrible events of 9/11/01 and said:

"We all long for peace. Peace is not just safety or lack of war, violence, conflict, and contention. Peace comes from knowing that the Savior knows who we are and knows that we have faith in Him, love Him, and keep His commandments, even and especially amid life’s devastating trials and tragedies." 

I'm really grateful to know that we are not alone in this world and that we can find hope and peace in the middle of tragedies. I rode the metro to work today and decided to feel thankful for the police officers and police dogs I saw all over the metro. My prayers are with those in Boston, those directly affected, and all of us whose hearts are as heavy as if we were Bostonians.

P.S. If you want to HELP, find out how at this link.

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