Saturday, April 20, 2013

Sweet Caroline - We''ll Sing it Again

Reachin out, touchin me touchin you
Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good 

And then came the bombs, the one two punch wiping out the illusion of harmony and love.
Why'd they do it? Two brothers from the neighborhood, all-American Chechen kids, living the dream.

Beside all the usual bromides, this is one truth that seems self-evident - for pain and suffering everywhere, there are no easy answers. But the hand of God is in the Boston Marathon tragedy that has swept us up this week. The evidence is in the excellence of the characters - the victims: Lu Lingzi, a 23-year-old Boston University student from China; 8-year-old cherub Martin Richard; and 29-year-old spectator Krystle Campbell; the heroic rescuer Carlos Arredondo in his cowboy hat and his flawed, haunted past; the injured Jeff Bauman who helped identify the bombers after his legs got blown off; the fallen MIT security cop Sean Collier; the transit cop injured in the firefight Richard Donohue, with a master's degree from the University of Limerick; the thousands of police fanning across Watertown house by house and the millions of Bostonians sheltering patiently throughout the day; and finally the brothers Tsarnaev - fallen angels, with so much promise and talent, but lured by the siren call of violent, apocalyptic jihad to kill and maim their neighbors and turn on Sweet Caroline, the city that had given them refuge and a chance to build meaningful lives.

Why do we need tragedies on a massive scale to bring forth the best in us? As a writer I try to show up the beauty and heroism of everyday life, but then something like the Boston bombings and the swirling passion play that comes in its wake shows me that the true artist is God and days like last week are the window He opens to allow us to recognize the truth in all its fullness, that we are alive as an entity, a humanity joined in our suffering. If only there was a way to underline our higher natures in the routines of our normal lives. If only every day was a crusade that joined all of humanity in a common cause.
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