Saturday, April 20, 2013

Weird gratitude for crazy people.

Note: Since this post was first published, all charges against the suspect in the Ricin letters case were dropped. References to the suspect have hence been revised to refer to whomever, it now appears, may have framed him. Stay un-cray cray people. ~ The Curator 

So horrible things happened this week. And not just the big things we know about.

Boston was bombed. And shot at. And carjacked. And locked down. And bombed again. And shot at again. And then won.

Texas blew up. Someone in Mississippi wants to kill Washington with rancid beans.

And all the while, anyone with a mic or a phone or a Reddit account scrambled to sleuth out the answers and thereby confused the heck out of already enfrenzied masses everywhere. (And everyone with a blog blogs on.)

And yet, things like this happen in slow-motion everyday. Thousands of small tragedies were already happening and went on happening quietly in the background, while we all watched these big ones go down in aghast awe.

Silently, people were murdered. Houses burned down. Family members betrayed one another. They did last month, ten years ago and will tomorrow.

More likely than not, you've suffered a personal tragedy, a shocking loss, a shaming duplicity that wrecked your life. This week may have brought it all back. The events in Boston, Texas and Washington may have reminded you of your nightmares, your grief, your shame. They may have made you feel powerless, worthless, numb, hateful and sent you spinning. Or you may not have cared at all, and that may be a problem all it's own.

How do you react? When something terrible but distant (or, even, innocuous but somehow troubling) stirs up your worst inner pain and fear, what do you do with it? Do you numb out? Do you turn to your favorite addiction, diving into that Snickers or vodka or bong or lover with consoling gusto? Or do you get angry? Scream at the driver in front of you for his or her heartlessly insensitive road-hogging in the midst of national tragedy? Or mock your politicians for blatant corruption inviolable to the most urgent national need? Or blame the Muslims or Republicans in your area for consenting en mass with violence?

Or do you do good with it?

See, what I take away from weeks like this is, weirdly, gratitude. Gratitude, in a way, for those two sad brothers, and some disgruntled Mississippian. Let me explain....

I've known some severely crazy people. Even been one myself. And the crazy people I've known have done some very, very bad things. The kinds of things we could have easily heard about this week on the news.

Often, when these people splayed their harmful crazy before me, as the Tsarnaev brothers and whoever hates Elvis that much did before us all this week, I've felt deep in my bones one strong, reverberating terror: that could be me.

I have the capacity to hurt you. And I've used it. So do you. And so have you. Especially when we've both been kinked up in fear and pain.

We lash out, we humans. We beat each other down and blow each other up because we feel bad and we think that if we can make them hurt as much as we do, we'll feel better. Everything will be all right for us if only the bad people are gone.

But we never feel better. Everything is never all right. And so we lash out again. We keep trying and trying and trying to punish others into taking our pain away.

Until we stop. And often, it's only fear that stops us. Fear we'll end up just like those we hate. Fear we'll end up on the news.

Nothing can ever make up for the terrible losses suffered by so many this week. Nothing can ever put the pieces back exactly where they were before everything blew apart. Those who've lost limbs and loved ones in Boston and Texas are marked forever by evil and tragedy. So how can we honor them? How can we do anything to show that we feel what they've lost?

One way may be to feel gratitude for everyday, every moment, that we chose to be unlike the Tzarnaev's. We can be grateful every time we chose not to do harm with our pain.


  1. I thought the same thing. How many people died in the Texas explosion this week? How many young men sacrificed their lives in Afghanistan this month?

  2. Very true. A great part of the courage of all armed forces is processing the trauma from their experiences in healthy ways. They get far too little credit for that. Thanks for reading! Be blessed ~ The Curator


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.