I don't know how much you watched the unfolding of events yesterday, but "ground zero" was just about a mile from my house. When they caught the suspect, it was just under a mile from here. It was one of the strangest days in my life, because we were asked not to even unlock our doors, and yet it was so quiet, so beautiful all day.
As I wake up this morning, I'm grateful it's all over. There were only a few hours yesterday during the long lockdown that I actually felt nervous as I could hear the final "pops" and the helicopters circling tightly overhead. It struck too close to home. I am struck by the fact that this shouldn't happen here. But I'm also reflecting that this shouldn't happen anywhere, and it is the daily reality of people in many places across the world (including some other cities in America). There are many many places where people don't know when they wake up if they will be hit by a stray bullet, or killed by a suicide bomb.
My response is to be shaken, to pray, and to mourn on behalf of humanity because this should not exist — and yet it does. I'm not shaken only because it was so close, I'm shaken because people should not have to live like this — anywhere. Ever. And yet they do. We are not different than they are. Lord have mercy on us if we think we somehow ‘deserve' to live in a safe place because we're in America, or even Boston. Everyone deserves safety and peace.
As we move forward, and we will, we do it in cautious faith, hopefully not forgetting that there are others for whom fear is still the predominant reality; for whom "shelter in place unless absolutely necessary" is the unstated norm, not the exception. I also move forward praying that there isn't a violent backlash on the peaceful Muslim brothers and sisters who live in our midst. I pray we don't judge the Muslim community by their extremists (if these brothers were even a part of that group . . .), in the same way that I hope people don't judge the Christian community by theirs.
Today I plan to love on my family, enjoy the privilege (because that's what it is) of being outside, and spend lots of time praying. Praying for peace, praying for this young man who disturbs me but I find myself having some small measure of compassion for, and praying for wisdom as I move forward in the next few days and weeks, that I would have opportunity to show love and extend peace to others around me in my city (Watertown & Boston), and on the campus I serve.
Heather Reneé Ardrey is an Ordained Elder in the Church of the Nazarene. She is a former Intervarsity Graduate Staff Worker. She, her husband Dave, and their two kids live on a two-mile-long island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Heather currently spends her time caring for her kids while waiting for whatever is next in her vocation. In her free time, she can be found scuba diving, painting, or writing.
It happened to me again last week. I was leading a training event and each participant was sharing a formative time in his or her development as a leader. One woman was talking about her experience as a leader planning a national leadership development project...
"Is academia a frivolous waste of time when we could be telling people about Jesus, or is there a deeper significance to a life of learning? And if learning is worthwhile on an eternal scale, are some questions more worthy than others?" Anna Plantinga reflects on these important questions.