Thursday, April 18, 2013

Boston 4.15.13 - The day darkness beset my adoptive hometown...


I fell in love with Boston almost 13 years ago when I first visited the city during my freshman orientation at one of its suburban colleges. This has been a true love which has endured stints at two different colleges and an 8 ½ year post college residence on Boylston St. I have met the most amazing people and expanded my family with the truest of friends that have come into my life while living here. Boston saw me grow from a naïve 17 year old into a slightly still naïve but independent woman. I have gone through make-ups, break-ups and bouts of uncertainty here, yet, never reducing my love for the city but, rather, finding comfort in the familiar. My adoptive hometown has been my one true love and on Monday April 15th, 2013 at 2:50 PM my heart broke.

Rather than engage in our usual day off routine of going for food and possibly a run my sister and I opted to wait out the Marathon crowd and rest instead. The two consecutive booms awoke us from our naps. The first bomb sounded like the many truck sounds we hear during the variety of deliveries that occur in the alley our rooms face, but the second was foretelling, then there was silence and a few second later: screams. Chilling screams. After running up and down the stairs to try to gauge what had happened, but not venturing out to Boylston due to the chaos witnessed from our front door, the news channels, finally, began to confirm there had been two explosions. A few minutes later members of BPD aka Boston Police Department entered our apartment and escorted individuals from other apartments in our building through our back door to the alley. We were allowed to change out of PJs but that was it, no time was allotted to gather provisions or understanding. 

First, we were on Newbury St, but were forced to leave, so we found a bench to sit on in the Commonwealth Ave mall. We sat and stared at the crowds going in every direction with little info as to what had really happened. Three hours later we finally found ourselves inside a friend’s apartment a few blocks away from the crime scene. Emails, voice mails, text messages from all over the world flowed in and I diligently responded to each, knowing that these people needed to know we were OK. As time progressed and the images rolled in via Twitter, Facebook and news channels we sat in disbelief. 

72 hours later we know more about the victims. We know that like Chinese national Lingzi Lu we moved to Boston from overseas for an education and found so much more; and that Krystle Campbell, the 29 yr old MA native, cherished celebrating Marathon Monday each year and we ache for the most passing of 8 year old Martin Richard whose life was unfairly cut short and whose family continues to reel from injuries to their members. The images and anecdotes of heroism continue to inspire me on the fact the good indeed trumps evil, even if not at every second but more so than not. Most poignantly Dr. George Velmahos, MGH's Chief of Trauma Surgery, recount of the spirit of the injured whom though missing limbs effused gratitude for being alive. Not only are we a city of strong and kind people but we are a city of the smart and prepared, a city where Hospitals knew how to respond

Never have I ever been more in love with this city and equally heartbroken. Like many I look forward to making myself useful to those most affected. At the moment my sister and I have been benefactors of kindness in the form of words of encouragement and hospitality. The City of Boston continues to prohibit access to our homes, is providing no assistance to the displaced nor giving information as to when we can return. However, it is us the residents of Boylston St and Back Bay that will ensure normalcy returns to our front yard. Upon returning to work I was asked if I now considered moving... Please! I am desperate to go back! 

Who knows how I will feel the first time I walk down Boylston St but I am certain with time we will be OK. As for now I remain steadfast in faith and thankful to all those that have showed us light in the midst of darkness.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Amen.

Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi invoked by Cardinal Sean O'Malley during the interfaith service "Healing our City" held at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston on Thursday April 18th, 2013.

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