Hard Boston Love
It’s hard to write about love today. I’ve avoided talking much about the Boston events, not through lack of caring but rather because I don’t feel adequate to address it. Other writers I admire such as Mark Morford have done a much better job of helping navigate our feelings during the tragedy:
In times of violent, faraway tragedy, you do the only thing possible: You gather in, hold tight, and take care of those close to you.
I found myself praying that the perpetrators would somehow be unaffiliated with any cause or ethnic group, because I feared reprisals based not on crimes but on appearance or belief or simple misunderstandings. I have had Sikh friends who have been berated for Islamic beliefs, and Islamic friends who have been berated for the beliefs of a small portion of their faith.
I see fierce loyalty and community love expressed by Bostonians (no surprise there) such as Jim Dowd’s column:
This town is not your run-of-the mill medium sized regional capital. In picking Boston as a target you picked has the unique condition of having a ridiculously huge number of completely off-the-wall genius techno-wizards co-existing right alongside some of the most psychotic angry, violent motherf&*^ers on the planet. I guarantee you that bringing these two groups together for common cause will turn out to be a massive miscalculation your part.
Finding Love During Tragedy
At the same time I read of the Boston suspect’s father, in Russia. Believing that his sons have been framed, he warns that “all Hell would break loose” if his other son is killed. At the time of this writing, as far as I know, the boy’s fate is not yet determined. The news has shown his aunt and uncle, and the pain in their eyes and voices as they try to deal with this reality…it is hard to imagine how hard it must be to deal with the discovery that someone you love may have done this kind of evil.
Or any kind of evil, really. That’s when it’s all too easy to let that emotional tipping point take you over the edge of love into the exact opposite: hate. Both are rooted in passion, but hate, as all Star Wars fans can tell you, is easier. It burns faster, and leaves a path of destruction – whether literal or spiritual or both – with all concerned.
Young College Gray: I want to make art about positive things!
College Mentor: Bah! Happiness is overrated!
Young College Gray: Yeah? Well, misery is EASY!
I am grateful that at least some of the focus on the event has been the selfless way so many went to the aid of the victims. Those who helped are being hailed as heroes, as being worthy of admiration and emulation, and for a grandfather that’s reassuring. Those are the people I will point out to my progeny. It will help, because it’s going to be tricky, in a world of nifty explosions in fiction and not-so-nifty in real life, to teach my grandsons that yes, love is hard, but it’s worth it.
In his column, Dowd mentions something he claims is peculiar to Boston: “Irish Alzheimer’s”, when all you can remember are the grudges you have against people. Maybe there’s some way to have it the other way around…where you forget all the grudges, and only remember the love you gave, the love you got, the love you shared.
Events aren’t making easy to remember the love these days.