This week began with twin explosions turning what had been a celebration of endurance into an unspeakable horror as, in an instant, hundreds of athletes and their families and supporters were permanently damaged – and three were lost. Whether by sad accident or deliberate intent, the bombs exploded at the point in the race where ordinary people would be approaching the finish line. The brutal fact of a device built to inflict as much damage over as wide an area as possible quickly sunk in. Terror, common in so many parts of the world, had come into our home, onto our land. Again.
No surprise that, when the week continued with a massive explosion shaking the ground with the force of an earthquake in Texas, it felt like a psychological aftershock. Again, unspeakable damage physically. More, soul damage. We love the benefits of our chemistry but such force gives pause. And so it should.
And then back to Boston where the minute by minute accounting of the chase leading to the death of one and the capture of the other of those apparently responsible for the bombings plays large to a nation needing the week to end. And so, it has. More questions than answers. Relief at the damage averted as more bombs are discovered and disarmed. As bad as it undeniably was, it could have been so much worse.
A surging of images – plumes of smoke, trails of blood, parts of pressure cookers – but more, faces of pain, broken bodies, tattered limbs – still more, the heroes racing towards the damage thinking more of the wounded than of their own safety, the police men and women confronting embodied evil with little time to prepare and everything to lose, the jubilant gratitude of a city lining the streets to celebrate the end of the week – and those involved in ending it.
So, this is how the week ends. Longer, it seems, that the actual days of it. Flying by, breakneck speed. Paradox of time. In fact, of course, weeks end. And then, begin again. With little preparation for the new from the old – except the same challenge to pay attention. Perhaps this week will have less to pay attention to. Or will it? Why must attention only be paid to the extraordinary – when the ordinary weeks also begin and are full, too? Perhaps not so much evil, not so much heroism, not so much… But, still. The wonder of life.