It seems like the anniversary of the marathon can’t approach us without tragedy, fear, sadness, or anxiety. Last year was the trial. We were all dealing with giving statements, attending hearings, being bombarded by the media. This year one of our survivor community, Victoria, has had a tragic accident and is no longer with us. And now today the attacks on Brussels. I woke up to phone calls and texts from friends asking if I’m ok. I avoid the news so I didn’t even know what had happened yet. Each attack is terrible. It doesn’t make me relive what happened to us. But I do avoid seeking out stories and photos. I know what it is like. I know what it looks like. I don’t need that reminder.
The thing about all this is that things never go back to normal. Nothing is ever the same. Even as much as you try to be normal, or be how you were. You can’t get back to that. You can’t go back. And maybe that’s ok, but these intermittent attacks, like regularly scheduled reminders, beat into me the fact that I too fit into that category. One who was in a terrorist attack. One who was in a bomb. One who is a victim. A survivor of something so tragic. These bombing survivors are our family. Only they know what our lives are truly like. Only they can truly understand us. But it saddens me to see our family growing. What is happening in the world when this is so common it is no longer surprising. It is no longer something that makes you gasp and say “WHAT things like this NEVER happen!” Because they do. They happen a lot. More than we even know, I’m sure. The news doesn’t report every terrorist attack or bomb that goes off.
It used to seem so far removed. It wasn’t anywhere near us. We didn’t know anyone involved. But now, each one is a reminder. Each one slams you back down on the ground and reminds you of where you were not so long ago.
John 1:5 says : “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Which doesn’t seem true. It just seems dark here. But I read it over and over. The darkness can not overcome the light. And where does the light come from? It comes from God. John 8:12: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” But it also comes from US. We are the light of the world. Jesus told us that, Matthew 5:8: “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”
I feel like every time something like this happens all I have to say is “cling to Jesus”. But really, is there any other answer? We are the light, we can not be hidden, the darkness can not overcome us. So we need to cling to Jesus and keep shining our lights. And someday, the darkness will be destroyed forever. Today is not that day. Today we mourn with Brussels. Today we are sad and we remember our own experiences. We call some friends from our survivor family and make sure they are ok. We lament together. But because we have gone through these experiences, we have an understanding that others do not. We can show more love. We can help bring peace. We can bond together and show these new additions to our family what surviving looks like. And we can show them that we can continue on, together.