Beauty in Brokenness—A Reflection on the Boston Bombing

By Sister Clare Walsh, MHSH

My accent is a dead giveaway.  I’m from Boston.  I work a block from where the Marathon bombings shattered lives and broke the heart of a city.  I walk down Boylston Street almost every day.  Patriots Day, Marathon Monday, is iconic in this sports-loving town.  We love this day that heralds spring.

In the days since this horrific event—from the sound of the bombs exploding to the silence of lockdown—I have experienced a tangled web of feelings: horror at the bombings, anger at the loss of young lives and limbs that danced and ran, sadness that this joyful day has been forever changed, and a desire for justice.

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Then, within days, the “terrorist” had a name, a face, a story.  He is a 19-year-old kid.  My feelings remain, but now they are more complicated.  As I hear cries for the death penalty, calls for stricter immigration laws and a gun in every home, my heart is sore.  I feel lonely in a city rejoicing at the “victory” of “We got him!”

I feel profoundly sad.  I live in fear of hate.  Cardinal O’Malley’s statement urging “reconciliation not revenge” consoles me.

As evident in our Christian story, there is beauty in brokenness.  We are humbled by the courage of so many medical professionals and bystanders who ran toward harm’s way to literally save the lives of those hurt by the bombs.  The stories help to heal our broken hearts and offer a glimpse of humanity at its best.  Tears have been my prayer in this season of resurrection.

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I grapple with how to console God for what we do to each other.

May God bless us all.

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2 Responses to Beauty in Brokenness—A Reflection on the Boston Bombing

  1. Of all that has been written about the Marathon bombing, the last line of this reflection stopped me in my tracks! GOD doesn’t let this happen to us, WE do this and God is not happy.

  2. Dolores SSJ says:

    Thank you, Clare, for this silent reflection. How painful for you and others to frequently pass the neighborhood of bombings. Like yourself, I also think of the 19 year old boy who, with his older brother, brought about such a tragedy. I continue to oppose the death penalty. Dolores SSJ

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