Sunday, April 21, 2013

Life after the Boston bombings

Seven years ago, I was on a weeklong fellowship for religion journalists at Brandeis University in Waltham.

One of the guest speakers was a journalist whose beat was Homeland Security.

After the lectures, the college hosted a reception; and I had the opportunity to speak to him.

“Do you think we are safe from future terrorist attacks?” I asked him.

“Let me put it this way,” he said. “We have stopped every terrorist attack since 9/11. But the odds are that we can’t be right 100 percent of the time.”

His words ring in my ears as I walk along the beach, seeking comfort in this place I have fled to since childhood.

Agitated, I stumble over rocks and slide into gullies, footprints of a violent New England winter.

Under overcast skies, the Sakonnet barely ripples at low tide, looking more like a pond than a saltwater river stretching to the Atlantic.

Outside of an occasional cry of a gull, the beach is quiet; but I can still hear the bombs, shattering our world.

Alone on the beach, I have no false sense of security as I contemplate my bearings, about an hour south of Boston and fifteen minutes from UMass Dartmouth.

I pray for the victims and for us to have the courage to carry on.

“Even though I walk through the shadow of the valley of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me,” says Psalm 23.

Back at home, my husband and I await the start of the Red Sox game.

I smile at the “Boston Strong” signs and marvel at the resilience of these folks who have come out of hiding, having spent yesterday in lockdown.

The opening ceremony yanks at my heartstrings, and I cry for the victims – the dead and the injured – and for the rest of us who have lost our innocence and peace of mind.

I wipe away tears as I join in the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

The game begins and Big Papi is back, a tower of strength on the field and off.

For a few minutes we forget. It is just another day at Fenway, and Red Sox Nation is cheering for the home team.

Wearing a Red Sox cap, Neil Diamond, “The Jazz Singer” himself, steps onto the field and begins singing “Sweet Caroline.”

The Sox win their seventh game in a row.


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