“Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.”
~ Anne Frank
Sitting in a meeting yesterday afternoon, a coworker burst in to tell us that she had just gotten off the phone with so-and-so who told her that “There were several explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, and bodies are everywhere!” Ignoring the obvious lack of tact, we all went running in separate directions to grab our phones and took to both social media and news sites. My mind immediately flashed to a teacher running into my classroom, shouting, “A plane hit the World Trade Center” and turning on the TV just in time to watch the second airplane strike.
In times like these, it’s easy to question where our humanity has gone, decry the unspeakable and senseless acts of violence we commit against each other. But last night, as I read hours worth of tweets in my usually ignored feed, my heart swelled, my eyes filled with tears at the heart and humanity people showed for complete strangers. Yes, there are the amazingly selfless and courageous rescue workers, first responders, and heroic bystanders that rushed toward the explosions instead of away from them. What struck me more, though, were the acts of kindness like the one this runner experienced:
And the collective conscience of this group of strangers to do what they could to help was so great that the American Red Cross had all the blood they needed within two hours of the explosion.
There was such an outpouring of offers for free shelter, food, connectivity, and companionship that a Google Docs spreadsheet was created to assist marathon runners and families find the help that many of them needed:
And, of course, there was the power of social media. I remember on 9/11 spending hours trying to get through to my friends and family in NYC and people who might have heard from them. Say what you want about social media, but it’s hard to deny the power it has to provide relief and comfort when tragedy strikes:
This morning, as I listen to the news reports and continue to skim my social media feeds, I choose to focus not on who did this or why – the answers of which I don’t think I’ll be able to comprehend even when known – and focus instead on the stories of humanity.