Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Reflections on Humanity

On Saturday, my husband and daughter returned home from a short trip to Boston, satisfied and decision made. On Sunday, we paid the enrollment fee for her to attend Emerson University, on Boylston Street. On Monday, two bombs went off on that very same street, mere blocks from where she will be attending college.

Our connection to this horrific event is so tenuous it's almost not worth mentioning. We are lucky that no friends or family members were harmed in the blasts, and I can't claim any personal emotional trauma due to the event. But still, the coincidences tie it closer to us than any other such event has ever been.

Amidst the intense reactions in the news, on social media, and in my daily life, I hear variations on a theme, a lament about the state of humanity. But I have come away from this with the opposite.

My heart is full of respect and pride and love for all of those who responded the way they did. For the immediate outpouring of support and aid. For the bravery of those who went to help, heedless of the possibility of a secondary blast. Even for the feelings of horror and compassion and sickness in the pits of stomachs, because those put paid to the notion that we are desensitized by fictional violence and separated by a gulf created by the Internet and decreased personal interaction.

There are humans, individuals who are sick by many different definitions. Dreadful things happen every day, many of them perpetrated on innocents by cowards or sociopaths. "Evil" has always existed, and always will.

But those humans do not comprise humanity. They are, in fact, devoid of humanity. When we give coats to strangers and save the lives of the injured next to us because that's what has to be done, we are displaying the traits that make that word what it is.

We will take care of each other, and when the time comes, we will bring the full force of humanity behind the hammer of justice to ensure those humans not worthy of the name are punished.

Humanity is, in fact, in fine shape.


Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Very well said, Natalie. My daughter is at Boston University. Even though she told me she was staying in her dorm to study during the marathon, we had some very stressful hours until we could reach her cell phone.
I'm trying not to waste energy on anger but I can't help it. They came too close to my child.
Emerson is a wonderful school. One of my daughter's high school friends is going there.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Oops, I think her friend is at Amherst.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

THAT'S who I couldn't remember! I knew I knew of someone close by, but couldn't think of who it was. I'm glad she was safe. I have family in MA but no one was near there.

That's funny, my boss was thinking Amherst today, too. LOL

Thanks, Sue, and hugs to all our kids. :)