Wednesday, April 17, 2013
A Heavy Heart
I was in New York on 9/11. Thanks to fate, I was not working at World Trade as I should have been, I was safely in my Astoria apartment, but I watched the towers fall one at a time from my balcony, I watched people walk over the bridge back to the eerily silent streets of Queens, I watched my friend return covered in white dust and debris. I tasted the sour mix of anxiety and terror that filled the subways as we bravely rode on. I coughed on the ash-filled air, lit candles in our windows and saw American flags plaster the city.
I just never thought it would happen in Boston... I just never thought it was possible there... To paraphrase my friend Jay, I grew up in Massachusetts, but I really *grew* up in Boston. For me, it's this ivy-covered iconic symbol of my youth, the backdrop for my coming-of-age story. Nothing can touch that place, nothing can hurt it, nothing can change it.
From New York to Aurora to Newtown to now Boston, I worry about the violent legacy we are leaving for our children. Then I remember what happened in New York in the months following, how the pain turned into promise, the heartache into hope and the loss into love.
It won't happen over night my dear Bostonians, but it will happen, there is proof that grief brings out the good--and I thank Patton Oswald for reminding me of that. He said, "...when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, 'The good outnumber you, and we always will.'"
And so, when the time comes, when my children ask me about something awful in the news, I will take a page from the forever relevant Mr. Rogers and say: look for the helpers, there are always helpers. Because where there is fear, there is also bravery, where there is darkness, there is also bright light, where there is bad, there is also--no there is always--good, you simply have to look and you'll see it: every, single, time.
And as long as I remember that, I will not be afraid.... and you don't have to be scared either.
To all my friends and family in Massachusetts, mourn, the world is mourning with you. And when you are ready to stand, we will be there to help you up.