What the world is coming to

American flag


Eh, it’s been a week.

I have no words for Boston or West . . . nothing adequate, anyway. Like most Americans, I’ve been glued to news sites and broadcasts for days — unable to tear my eyes away from the disturbing updates and images. The photos haunt me.

Whenever something awful happens, I vow to “tune out” and stay far away from the updates — but, you know, that rarely happens. This dates back to 9/11, I’m sure, when we were glued to our TVs in the D.C. suburbs waiting for word on parents and friends in Washington. It was terrifying; it was life-changing. My inner peace was shattered. And though I was only 16, I was certainly old enough to realize something truly terrible had happened. Life was forever divided into Before and After.

My mom and I frequently talk about “the old days” — the simpler times when she was growing up in the ’60s and ’70s. Long days where kids played in the streets together, unafraid of kidnappers and rapists. No one wore sunscreen; no one got burned. People felt safe enough to leave their cars unlocked, to have their doors wide open. Neighbors waved and hosted block parties. They came to borrow to sugar.

“I feel so sad that you’ll never experience that,” she says.

“I don’t know any other way,” I say.

But their “simpler times” were often far from simple. And we talk about that, too. Threats of nuclear bombs. Volatile race relations. The assassinations of presidents, politicians, beloved leaders. An impeachment. War.

“But it wasn’t broadcast in real time,” Mom says. “That’s the difference.”

It wasn’t on your iPhone, cradled in the palm of your hand. It didn’t surround you and drag you into the thick of it; it wasn’t tweeted live from every nook of the country.

But life keeps moving.

I think about my own kids. They’ll be born in a post-9/11, post-Boston world — but we will work to protect and strengthen them. When I feel anxious and scared about “what the world is coming to,” I remember the resilience of America — through everything, through all of this — and know that, somehow, we will still link arms and work together and figure it out . . . because we’re Americans.

Though I don’t know what the world is coming to, I’m proud of my country. I cry when I hear the national anthem. I’m thinking endlessly of Boston, of Texas. I’m rooting for all of us. And if nothing else, we are here . . . together.


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10 thoughts on “What the world is coming to

  1. Too true. We must press on. I live about a half hour outside of Boston and I am trying to continue my day to day normal routine as much as possible. Two of my uncles and a close friend are in locked down buildings in various parts of Boston right now. We are resilient and we will get through this together.

  2. My husband and I talk about this all the time. While my parents generation talk about the evils of all the real-time media, it was because of this that these suspects were smoked out and then identified in less than 24 hours after their faces were identified. It blows my mind. The cold hard truth is that we CAN’T go back, only forward and lean on each other and stay strong despite the fact that it seems the world has gone insane.

  3. Your words have made me cry but that’s all right because I agree with you entirely. I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s – s very different world than what we have now. We didn’t have the internet and all the social media we do now. Heck, we didn’t even have cable until I was in seventh grade. There are conveniences and miracles to having nearly everything in real time, but sometimes it is necessary to turn it off for sanity’s sake.

    My husband and I got married and had our children after 9/11 and it was definitely much scarier as a result. In fact, America went into Iraq and Afghanistan just weeks before our wedding and we questioned all of our choices with a real sense of fear about our future. But, as you so beautifully say, we are all Americans. And our country is built on so much beauty and strength.

    I went to college in Boston, so this week has been extra emotional and now I’m trying to explain evil and insanity to my kids. But again, we are Americans and citizens of our planet. We can not let the bad rule. We have much to be thankful for and proud of. I for one, will not allow the negative to take over the positive.

    Sorry for my enormous comment! I tell my daughters to stay strong and always be the wonderful people they are – it means a great deal. Have a wonderful weekend, Meg!

  4. This was beautifully written Meg. You captured so many of the feelings that I have been having lately. Coming to grips with the events in Boston is hard enough on my own, but finding a way to share with our seven year old has been the most difficult part. We try to impart all of the necessary virtues of kindness, selflessness and empathy, while having no valid explanation for these acts of hatred.

    We are tough and resilient, and I am hoping that is the message that comes across to our daughter and overshadows the bad things b

  5. It’s so true the way “in our hands” technology ha changed things for better or for worse. I still think there is a lot of good in this country and am blessed to live here and raise our family here. I was 17 on 9/11 and I remember being terrified that my world would never be the same. But you are right, life moves on, and we just have to do our best to be beacons of hope in times of sorrow. Thanks for sharing!
    Aww so cute 🙂
    The Lily and The Marrow | With Christ as my marrow, might I live thus as the lily…
    https://thelilyandthemarrow.wordpress.com/

  6. Well said Meg. Your mom is right, our world growing up was not all perfect, but it did feel safer living in the suburbs, riding our bikes everywhere, playing outside til the street lights came on.
    Good thoughts on this topic, and it’s been a hell of a week!

  7. I definitely think that it gets harder and harder to disconnect from the play-by-play of current events as time marches on. I was one of the ones glued to the tv on Friday as the bombing suspect was being pursued and captured. It’s hard to turn that stuff off when it’s right in front of you…

  8. My Mom and I have talked about this several times over the years. Whether the fear is that your child will be taken from the front yard (the incidence of this happening has not increased from back in the day) or the threat of nuclear war, it is worsened by 24 hour news coverage. We all need to turn off the TV a lot more! I did not watch any coverage of the Boston bombing and relied on NPR (and even they went to a CNN style coverage). Even still, it made a big difference.
    Just my two cents

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