On Monday afternoon, I arrived home from class and started in on some homework when my phone went off. It was Brian. I answered and his voice sounded distressed. I instantly panicked.
"Turn on the news," he answered. He continued to tell me how two bombs had gone off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. "I just thought you'd want to know," he said, "since you are my little news girl."
I immediately read every article I could find, listened on television and on the radio. Then after I walked away from all the articles and noise of the stories, I thought to myself of the times I've crossed the finish line in a race. Granted, I am not awesome and run marathons (let alone the Boston Marathon), but I've ran countless 5ks and quite a few half marathons. The last one hundred yards to the finish line is such a natural high. In every half I have ran, I start feeling like I might die, but as soon as I begin seeing more spectators and hear them tell delirious me, "You have less than a mile! Good job," I find some crazy spurt of energy inside myself. I push through any pain or tiredness and the adrenaline takes over. When the finish line is in sight, I suddenly forget about my hurting joints and my gasping breaths because my spirit feels well, and it carries me. After the finish is crossed and the time is announced, I usually feel invincible. That is, until I realize I need a bathroom immediately or I might poop my pants (I have a bad stomach). Then I imagined what it would feel like. How would it be to cross the finish line and suddenly have a bomb blow off my limbs? Would I even realize what was happening? Would the adrenaline still be there?
And then I just sat down on my living room floor and sobbed for a second, because such gross things happen in this world. What kind of evil person would want to kill a bunch of strangers (don't get me wrong, killing acquaintances is wrong too)?
When terrible things like this happen, people often blame the media for showing it. Maybe some of you wonder why I want to be a journalist, who reports on awful tragedies like this. Well, there are many reasons. But the main reason has to do with the above quote from Mister Rogers. In the midst of the most tragic events, some of the most beautiful moments also occur.
Think about it. Cinderella would be the dumbest story ever if it weren't for evil stepsisters and a lost shoe. Every story must have conflict because conflict creates heroes. Bad must exist to have good, and I truly believe that the good will always outweigh the bad. The day after this terrible tragedy, I was no longer crying out of fear and disgust, I was crying because of so many stories I read about helpers.
I was moved by the story of Carlos Arredondo, the man in the cowboy hat. He was at the marathon handing out American flags at the finish. He was doing this to heal after losing one son to war in the Middle East, and losing another to suicide. When the bombs went off, he rushed to a man who lost both his legs and saved him. Later, the man he saved was able to give a description of one of the bombers.
I was inspired by all the stories of runners who continued running to the nearest location to donate blood.
In a world with so much bad, it continually reminds me that the good still triumphs. I am a journalist because out of the darkness, the light deserves to be celebrated.
This past week, I had the amazing opportunity to hear Elizabeth Smart speak at my university. She was kidnapped from her home in Salt Lake City at the age of fourteen and held captive for nine months. Her kidnapper "married" her to him and then raped her continually over the nine month span. After Elizabeth told her shocking story, she concluded by telling us although she would never want to relive what happened to her, she is thankful for it. Her trial evolved into a blessing. She is now an activist and speaks out against child abuse and abduction.
I believe that people are good (most people). I believe that trials can make us better people. God bless everyone who has experienced pain this week: in Boston, in Texas, overseas, and anywhere else. Don't ever stop believing in the good.