When I saw my daughter’s question on facebook after the Boston Marathon Bombing last week, I knew she was expressing a universal feeling of sadness and anxiety about the world we now live in. I knew she was worrying about the safety of the world my 4-year-old grandson is growing up in. As a Bostonian, I know that globalization has changed every aspect of our lives — from the clothes we buy and the food we eat, to the multi-cultural society we inhabit, and the diverse, and often divergent, values and beliefs that wreak havoc on our sense of security.
I have several clients who were running the race, as well as others with family members living in Watertown, where the “shoot-out” was taking place, who were terrified about their safety. Although I tried to text and call them on my cell phone, I later learned on TV that satellite service had been shut down. There was no way to reach them. Being accustomed to the sense of connection our multiple technology devises have given us, I was disconnected! I felt powerless and helpless to reassure myself that everyone was okay.
The bombing brought a heightened sense of insecurity right to my back door. It has shaken up people all over the city and the country. Another sacred tradition has been assaulted; more lives lost or shattered by serious injuries. And, we know, it’s the families, the survivors, who have to confront the greatest challenges of adjusting to a “new normal” without their loved one.
Feeling safe and secure is a basic human need. We try to instill it in our children from birth. As a grief counselor, I try to help survivors restore some sense of safety in their world. But safety is not absolute; it is not a ‘given,’ as we assumed in the past.
The only certainty we have is that we can be safe in the love we have for others. The bombing in Boston, and the recent shootings in Newtown, Aurora, Texas and elsewhere throughout the country, must remind us that life is precious and that we are all connected in our humanity as a community. Let us all remind ourselves that our purpose and meaning is to celebrate those we love, and make the most of each moment of every day we have!