some more sober thoughts

I know by now many, many people-bloggers among them-have already offered words in response to the Boston Marathon incident, and many of them, I’m sure, have been much wiser and more fitting words than any I have to extend here. So, in keeping with that trend, I’d like to share a poem by Mary Oliver that made me think of the bombings this week:

The Morning Paper

Read one newspaper daily (the morning edition
is the best
for by evening you know that you at least
have lived through another day)
and let the disasters, the unbelievable
yet approved decisions,
soak in.

I don’t need to name the countries,
ours among them.

What keeps us from falling down, our faces
to the ground; ashamed, ashamed?

One could also, perhaps, substitute something like “heartbroken” for “ashamed” in this poem on some occasions.

And lastly, I’d also like to share one small (and perhaps seemingly strange) thought that crossed my mind in relation to the suspects. As I was looking at their pictures posted on Al Jazeera this morning, one of the first things I thought was how beautiful they are-I mean, they are literally beautiful, healthy looking young men. And I was so saddened-certainly for the lives that were lost because of the explosions, for the many who were injured, and for the people left untouched physically but who have been deeply wounded because someone they love has been hurt or killed. I am so sorry for their loss and the pain they are experiencing. I was saddened, too, by the damage done in the lives of the young men who committed this horrible crime; and I hope I don’t seem insensitive to the more obvious victims of the Boston Marathon bombings when I suggest they aren’t the only ones, and that the beautiful, though definitely errant young men responsible for the incident are victims in some way, too, even if (at least partly) by their own hand. (But I think we are all somehow complicit for the guilt and brokenness of the world…I’ve been reading and thinking about The Brothers Karamazov, after all, and the teaching’s of Father Zosima’s character in it.)

Anyway, if this really grates you the wrong way in your grief, please forgive me and ignore it. But I feel more honest by writing that I am saddened on behalf of the brothers who orchestrated the bombings, as well as on behalf of the bystanders.



  1. Every time I see the picture of the one that is still living, I feel like my heart squeezes tight. He’s a little boy. Such a young, beautiful boy. I want to grab him and whisper, “God, did not create you for this!” It’s like his picture screams of all he could-have-been. If that makes sense.

    It made me think of the verses where God says that he takes “no pleasure in the death of the wicked”. Of course, God sees all the lost as what they could-have-been. And He knows what they lost intimately.

    And when this one was taken alive? I felt the need to pray hard. He will face justice here but I can’t help but beg God to grant his soul mercy. For no heart, especially no 19 year old heart, can stand under the judgement of such actions.


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