Boston and the not-so-goodness of man

As the sun broke the horizon Sunday morning, I was driving east on I-90 toward the Riverside MBTA station.  I stood on the platform with legging-clad runners, their bright sneakers and pinned numbers a stark contrast to the stained rough concrete.  As we sat next to each other they discussed techniques for training and recovery, their plans for the BIG race the next day.  Wrapped up in my world, I was previously oblivious to the fact that it was marathon weekend.  Quietly I listened to them and compared my plans for the day.  I was going into Boston to volunteer at a convention, to be inside the entire day, talking, smelling, tasting coffee.  Sales and marketing, foamed milk and water pressure.  It was about the fun of combining a little work with something I love.

36 hours my attention would be drawn back to Boston.  Smoke, blasts, shattered glass and buildings.  What is the truth? What happened?  Who do I know that may be affected? Are the people I love safe?  Collectively we were all asking those questions.  There weren’t always good answers.  Lives will now be defined by that instant. Before and after.

Embracing my role as a social media manager to make sure that we put out correct information, and weeded out erroneous stories, I stopped personally processing.  It was business – get the word out, pass on the information, help others make sense, stop the scheduled info and focus on the moment.  Watching Twitter and Facebook feeds, listening to live news reports, my existence was entirely about being online.

Today is different.  The immediacy has passed.  News agencies have been briefed and are more aware of the situation.  Social Media and Community managers have, for the most part, gone on to their regularly scheduled programs, of course adding in the apropos informative links and blog posts regarding the incident.  And I’m stuck.

Downside to being a single, I don’t have anyone at home with whom I can verbally wrestle through an issue.  So dear readers, blurkers, and others it spills out to you.  So many times yesterday I saw memes, tweets, and quotes talking about the ‘good in humanity.’  I have a problem with that.  You see, humankind is not inherently good.  In fact left to our own devices we can be extremely cruel and evil.  Without the redemptive work of faith in our lives, and employing God’s gift of self-control so we can choose to do the right thing, we would be lost.

We ask “How could God let this happen?” while in the same breath we say “I want it my way”.  These thoughts cannot co-exist.  Either we want free will, which includes the choice to do evil, or we want a dictatorship with the Creator calling the shots.  It is not possible to bake the proverbial cake while consuming it.

As a loving God, He allows us to choose.  Being a righteous God, He requires consequences for those choices.  Graciously and mercifully He has provided a way to be excused from the judgement for the choices we make in our moments, but we accept that gift and the parameters that He gives with it – do to others what you would have them do to you; turn the other cheek; make disciples; read the Word and do what it says; love Him above all; live out that love towards those that hate you… (cf Matthew 5-7, 22: 37-39, 28:19-10 NLT)

I will never be able to understand why someone chose to carry out a terrorist attack yesterday.  I applaud the choices of the first responders who chose to run toward danger to save lives.  I grieve with those who must face the repercussions of one person’s actions and now must put lives back together with missing pieces.  And I pray to God that somehow we would all choose to look to Him to gain a measure of peace in the middle of a chaotic world.  To choose to live according to the prescription He has given to live a life that honors Him and serves others.

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