Mills: Is There a Correct Response to Tragedy?

Life is so busy, so busy, all the time. With three homeschooled children who are into various activities, a house in which I am determined to finish several unfinished projects, and a husband who works a full-time job, a part-time job, is attending online college classes full-time and still spends every second he can with his family, I feel like we are the epitome of busy. We define it this spring. In the middle of our personal chaos though, tragedies are happening all around our country. 

These tragedies have affected us little on a physical level. We have paused momentarily to read up on the news of the Boston Marathon and now the explosion in West, Texas. I'm not the crying kind, but I've said many prayers for those affected this week, even while I've continued on with my busy life. In some ways though, it seems wrong that I haven't done more or cried at all. But as I sit and watch the sunrise this morning and think about things, I realize I am doing more. Everything I do is exactly what I should be doing.

I woke up with my fireman this morning, just like I always do when he goes on shift, so I could spend a few minutes with him and make sure he got off to work okay. The sky began to lighten about 10 minutes after he left for work, so I fixed my morning tea, took a seat on our back porch and as I type, I am watching our ducks splash and dabble in their pools while the sunrise scatters rainbows in the drops of morning dew hanging in my garden. It is beautiful and I am enjoying every second of this personal blessing. On Tuesday, after hearing of the horrible news from Boston, I went for a jog while my daughters rode their bikes. My birthday girls just got a new bike and this was going to be our first ride anyways, so we rode and ran and enjoyed every second of it.

On Tuesday night, I again said a prayer yet felt my grief was inadequate due to my lack of tears. I choked back these thoughts and headed outside with my girls so I could make good on a promise I had made. I crouched down in our chicken's coop with my three daughters huddled around me, candling our ducks' eggs to see which ones our broody hen might be able to hatch. The girls and I watched, enchanted by the flashlight beam streaming through the shell of the egg like an X-ray, showing us the veins of the yolk sack attached to the shell. We were mesmerized as we rotated the egg and at just the right angle we saw the free-flowing movements of what will become a peeping, waddling little duckling in just a couple more weeks. All we could see were a couple dark spots, but they moved on their own, pulsing, beating and playing around as if toying with the light and with our hearts. My girls gave a collective, "Awww!"

At that moment, I knew for sure that what I was doing was exactly what I should be doing even though others were feeling sorrow in a more poignant way. I did not personally know anyone affected by the Boston Marathon bombing, so why should I curl up in a ball of grief? I probably shouldn't. Freezing up and refusing to live my life would be the worst thing I could do. Instead, I should carry on, with some continued prayers of peace for the families who were personally affected. But I should do what I do, do. I should enjoy my children and the life my firefighter and I have created together.

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