For the moment, that is the word to describe my dominant feeling in response to the audacity of the terrorist bombings at yesterday's Boston Marathon.
I am indignant that an 8-year-old child is dead. That a family from Dorchester will bear unspeakable sorrow forever. That 2 other families face a similar ordeal, although as yet, we don't know who they are or who they've lost. There are large numbers of families who are keeping vigil for loved ones, who fight for their lives in ICUs in Boston. They will bear forever the scars of war. Physical and psychological. They didn't enlist or get drafted. They didn't train or bear arms. They simply celebrated a day of Freedom. Freedom.
If you aren't familiar with Patriots' Day, it is a traditional commemoration of the battle of Lexington and Concord, which occurred April 19, 1775. It is an official holiday in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the State of Maine. At the time of that battle, what has been known since 1820 as the State of Maine was a non-contiguous part of the colony of Massachusetts.
I read on Wikipedia that Wisconsin also recognizes Patriots' Day, and in Florida, it is "encouraged", although I know nothing about that history.
In the days and weeks ahead, we will no doubt learn more about the activities and motives of the perpetrators of this despicable bombing.
For the time being, we are faced with uncomfortable questions, the chief of which is "why?", followed closely by queries starting with "how?".
The most important general answer is that there is evil in this world. Evil in the hearts of people. Evil in thoughts, words and actions. No human being can escape its touch. Not one. And the reality is that many, many people have allowed, have chosen to allow evil to have dominion in their lives.
The most important specific answer for Christians, is to understand that God knows about the evil tempting every one of us. He knows the full extent of the harm of evil. He knows of the death and the suffering and the sorrow. He knows all about cruelty and torment and torture. He knows. And he says "Vengeance is mine."
He knows and he offers something better. Not just better, but the best. He offers Peace in the midst of turmoil, Rest for your soul, and Love like no other. And if that isn't enough, he offers Hope in the most hopeless of circumstances. He is the source of all that is Good and his love and salvation are free to every single person. Each one of use can choose to live in His Love, wherein we can have Peace no matter what.
So, while my human, natural response is indignation, I know that as I feel this and many other difficult feelings, I can access God's Peace and Hope through prayer, Scripture reading, singing hymns and Psalms, and seeking fellowship with other Christians who offer love and support.
Does this sound too improbable to you? I understand. I have not always believed, and have traveled through skepticism, even anatagonism toward the Christian faith. I understand that this may sound like an inadequate response to the magnitude of the horror of what has happened.
I invite you to express your thoughts and feelings in the comments. I encourage thoughtful, respectful discussion. This isn't simple, easy or instant, but it is important. In fact, it's vital.
On a personal note (as if the preceding wasn't personal?!), I rejoice to report that my brother who lives and works in Boston was not in harm's way, and my niece who commutes into Boston on the T (subway) for classes was at home for the holiday as well. Thanks be to God.