Rachel Bunting is a sister of sorts. Her son is near to my youngest son (the Monkey Prodigy) in age. We “met” in an online workshop, or was it on Journalspace, a now defunct blog platform? It was probably a dozen years ago. Since then we have bonded, struggled with similar issues, including religion, divorce and how to be a good parent. She’s also one of my favorite poets.
We had a Google-chat tonight, and she reminded me that though bombings and beatings, killings and horrors happen all over the world, I need not think I am selfish when one hits me hard. I think it’s been the fashion lately to berate ourselves as insular and provincial if we find ourselves stopped in our tracks because of a tragedy that hits close to home. What, don’t you care that children were killed today in (fill in almost any country’s name)? But let’s not be too harsh. Yes, we need to be aware of what is happening outside our borders, especially with an eye toward peace and the prevention of violence.
But it is only natural, Rachel reminded me, to flinch hard when violence hits a community we find ourselves closely connected to. I am more conscious of protests and trouble in Northern Ireland since I have been adopted by family there, than I was before I had set foot in Belfast for the first time in 2006, even though “The Troubles,” as they are called, have virtually ceased there, aside from a few radical protests.
Perhaps the secret is to make efforts to be more connected to the world at large. How do we do that without it overwhelming us? Facebook posts today from George Takei and comedian Patton Oswalt reminded us that it is not that there is more evil in the world than good. It’s quite likely the other way around, but the darkness speaks very loudly.
I am told that there is video footage of people running toward the scene of the explosions in Boston today, people moving in to help the wounded. This Fred Rogers quote has been circulating for some time, but is especially encouraging today, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'”
The darkness has not overcome us. I need to remember this.
This poem, written by Rachel today, helped me do that. It’s part of her Poem-a-Thon to raise donations for The Bullycide Project. Click on the link and check it out. Then go to Rachel’s event page on Facebook if you think you could help support the work being done to help prevent teen suicide.
The poems for Rachel’s thirty days are inspired by contributors as well as news stories. Today’s was inspired by this lighter story about how tears cannot fall in outer space. For the text of Rachel’s poem, “There Are Things You Cannot Do in Space,” click here.
- Patton Oswalt Pens Inspirational Missive on Humanity’s Inherent Goodness in Wake of Boston Marathon Bombing (gawker.com)
- Patton Oswalt’s Heartfelt Reaction to Boston Bombings: People Are Good, Will Always Help (people.com)
- Stunning image of night-time Belfast taken from space (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- A Cognitive Shift: The Overview Effect (ekostories.com)
- Earth from space (micahperry11.wordpress.com)
- Amazing Photos Of Earth From Above, From Canada’s Tiny Space Program (fastcoexist.com)