I talked to my children briefly about what had happened and left it that there were people hurt that could use our prayers. They seemed ok with that. But this morning on the way to piano, it was clear that Cooper's inquiring mind had not moved on. He wanted to know about the bombs. That wasn't something I wanted to go into a lot of detail about... so I was brief and he had more questions. After his lesson on the way to school he brought it up again- I just don't understand, he said. I asked what he needed clarified, knowing that I probably wouldn't have the answers. How do bad people become bad? Well, that's a tough one, buddy. We talked a little about those who don't like America, we talked about those who don't know how to handle it when they feel angry and we talked about mental illness... Those are big, heavy subjects for a ride to school! He got quiet and said he understood all of that but as I looked in my rearview mirror, there were big tears spilling out of his eyes. What is bothering you most, bud? After a minute, his voice was quiet as he said, but how do I know if I'm safe? Good grief. I wanted to promise with all my heart that he would always be safe, I wanted to give him the guarantee he was looking for. Well, I don't know if you'll always be safe, but I know you will always be ok. How? Because you have an army of angels around you. We talked about how bad things happen because others have their agency, but Heavenly Father knows us and is aware of us and we will be ok.
We talked about finding the positive in crummy situations and recognizing that there are always good people and blessings to be found. We talked about how bad guys can hurt people, but they can't break spirits. That while they try to be harmful, they end up bringing people together, we become stronger, kinder, more gentle and more grateful. He felt better as he got out of the car at school, but I drove home thinking... how on earth do you explain an attack like that to a child- one who wants to wrap his head around it and have it make sense, when it all reality, it will never make any sense at all.
Thankfully he went through his day much more light-hearted and seems to have returned to his carefree self. It's a bummer that darkness is going to reach my children and that I can't keep them in a bubble forever, but it's a blessing that there is always light close by, and the light is always stronger and always brighter and always wins.
"Like water, be gentle and strong. Be gentle enough to follow the natural paths of the earth, and strong enough to rise up and reshape the world." -B. Peterson