A terrible thing happened. It happened in America. It happened in Boston.
The same sort of terrible thing happens every day in other parts of the world. In Afghanistan, in Kabul. In Israel, in Tel Aviv. People in those places expect this sort of thing; we don’t hear about it all around the world.
People are asking whether we should be afraid, in America. I’m wondering whether people are afraid, in other places.
Fear is really hard to live with. It drags you down. I think most people, even in places where there are things to be afraid of, are not constantly afraid. Humans are amazingly good at carrying on. They learn the stakes, the new paradigms, the appropriate caution, and then they get on with their lives, with loving their families and their home. I think people continue to laugh.
But I’m an optimist, and a holder of hope. And I’m holding on extra hard right now because I’m starting to have to move pieces in my own internal paradigm. I’m worried about big money and power and privacy and political gridlock.
I think the Internet is not something that humans yet know how to deal with. I think the combination of the Internet and nuclear power and technology evolving faster than we can adapt to it will probably force us to adapt in another way – a good way, I hope. A Gene Roddenberry sort of take-a-step-back-and-not-judge-too-quickly way. I hope – I believe, even – that we will make the leap to become good stewards of ourselves and of our planet, using our fantastic brains in ways that benefit us all in the longer term.
I do not see that happening right now. In my head, the time we live in is generally dark, with dazzling points of light standing out all over the place. Instead of a new day, perhaps, a starry night. The innovations to do good are there. But the cooperation and the foresight to integrate them into the infrastructure is not.
So here I am. A budding social worker, a holder of hope, an inveterate geek. Almost every day, I echo Frodo in my head:
“I wish it need not have happened in my time.”
And I hear Gandalf responding: “So do I, and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
I want to do good, in my time. I want to stay in my country, where there is so much to be afraid of and so much good that needs to be done, and I want to acknowledge that things are scary without living in fear.
I want to keep adding to the balance of joy in the universe. Yesterday I stopped trying to get work done, retweeded those tweets I felt solid about, and turned a work-call with a friend into a two hour video-hangout session with a friend. I made grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner and I watched the new Doctor Who episode.
Today I wrote this whole thing listening to a new, gentle and comforting piece of my partner’s music.
Tomorrow I will drive to Boston for school, and I will focus on supporting my classmates and on doing good work, and honoring those people who have shared their stories with me.
And I will come to terms with the time that I have been given, and hold my faith that there will be a better time to come.