Wednesday, April 17, 2013

bombs, heros and angels

On April 15, two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.  This news was devastating and disturbing on several levels, not the least of which was the fact that I have spent a good deal of time along race courses and cheering at finish lines, often with my children.  I am putting this event into the category of things that try as I may, I will not understand in this life.  I can be upset and bothered and incredibly frustrated, especially for those who worked so hard to be able to participate in the marathon and then I can choose to see the heros that inevitable emerge in situations such as this.  They are always there.  The fact that we have free agency means that bad things happen sometimes, but it does not mean we have been deserted.  It is so obvious that armies of angels surround us at all times and they were working hard on Monday in Boston.

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


kimmalee said...

Oh sweet little Coop. I'm aching reading this post. Knowing that you are right, that we cannot ever be entirely safe, or guarantee that bad things will not happen to us. Knowing that this hard conversation that you had with your kind, tender boy is one that I will have to have with mine in time. I'm dreading that. It's so hard after things like this happen to live on both sides of the line: feeling beaten because of the evil that we can't avoid, and feeling the need to see the positive that comes, see the armies of angels and pick myself up and move on. You're a great mom.

Kristi said...

This has been another tough thing to talk about. My older two understand a little better what took place, but my little Ely is so confused. Your son is a sweetheart and blessed to think deeply about these situations. Hopefully more of our young ones will feel this way and be prepared to make a difference as adults!

The Malone's said...

When ever I find that there is something like this weighing in on Jonas' mind (and goodness there is) I find that the best answer I can give him is the about the plan of salvation. Heavenly Father loves all his children, even those who make sad choices. He loves us so much that he allowed us to have agency and that we show our love to him by how we use our agency. And whenever we have the discussion about life and death, I alway reiterate that we will have the opportunity to go back and live with our Heavenly Father and that is part of the plan. After talking about the Newtown school shootings, one of the first things Jonas said was "all of those kids get to go to the Celestial Kingdom" and he knows it. Our raising generation is so much stronger and have the capacity to do so much more good in the world. How humble I am to know that I was entrusted with two of Heavenly Fathers sons.

Katelyn & Wade said...

Oh Coop. You sweet little man. You just made me bawl my eyes out. Good job sister, you handled that brilliantly,