“We can’t accommodate terrorism. When someone uses the slaughter of innocent people to advance a so-called political cause, at that point the political cause becomes immoral and unjust and they should be eliminated from any serious discussion, any serious debate.” – Rudolph Giuliani, CNN interview, Sep. 11, 2002
“Peace is not the product of a victory or a command. It has no finishing line, no final deadline, no fixed definition of achievement. Peace is a never-ending process, the work of many decisions.” – Oscar Hammerstein II
“Fighting terrorism is like being a goalkeeper. You can make a hundred brilliant saves but the only shot that people remember is the one that gets past you.” – Paul Wilkinson, London Daily Telegraph, Sep. 1, 1992
Like most people, I was horrified when I heard about the explosions at the Boston marathon this afternoon. Having just run my first 10k a little over a week ago, the feeling of crossing that finish line is fresh in my mind. It was fun and exhilarating and happy.
And that was not the Boston marathon finish line….the finish line for the most well known foot race in the world. A race you are only allowed to run if you are good enough…..if you meet the required time in another marathon. A race people work for years to qualify for. But they finally qualify….and then they train some more. The day comes, the excitement is in the air. The race starts! These victors run their hearts out and reach the finish line after passing crowds all along the route, cheering them on. It is an event that brings out the best in people…..both in the their athletic ability and in their support of their fellow man. It celebrates life. It celebrates humanity. It celebrates the victor and the one who makes an attempt. It celebrates the accomplishments of strangers of all ages, all nationalities. It bonds these strangers and makes them of one accord. It’s a thing of beauty.
Today evidently someone tried to tamper with that. They perverted a time that should be about triumph and turned it into pain. They have taken life and health randomly and carelessly. What is their purpose? When did this purpose stall their heart and their humanity? Why did they feel this was a solution?
I don’t understand, but I know that people who do these things, who hate themselves and others, are not always strangers. Often they are people who look like us, speak like us, and are us. At some point something goes wrong. They/we lose touch with reality. Their personal pain overcomes their sanity.
How do we change this? How do we bring peace to our world? How do we get these acts of terror to stop, not just in our country but around the world?
I believe in the power of the love of God, working through mankind. I believe in peace, I believe in kindness, I believe in a brotherhood that reaches beyond the borders or states and countries. I also believe in the need for more education about stress and fear and mental health, more resources for people to get help, and less stigma for those who do. I believe that hate can start in a single heart and spread across the world, but that also love can do the same.
I remember when my older sister learned a song when she was in elementary school and taught it to me as we were laying in bed at night. Sometimes I think we forget the simplicity and truth found in these lyrics. Are our lives teaching peace….or hate and violence? We need to look in the mirror.
“Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be.
With God as our father
Brothers all are we.
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony.
Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now.
With every step I take
Let this be my solemn vow.
To take each moment
And live each moment
With peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth,
And let it begin with me.”
– Jill Jackson/Mark Miller