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My heart goes out to those affected

It’s been quite some time since I heard so much bad news all in the same week.

With the bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday, the explosion at the West, Texas plant on Wednesday, the threatening letters being sent to the president and a Mississippi senator, a random sinkhole opening up in Chicago, and then the lockdown of Boston on Friday as authorities killed one bombing suspect and hunted for another, I found myself wondering what in the world was going to happen next.

I’ve been glued to the television listening for updates, especially since I have a good friend who works in Boston and only lives about three miles from where they are conducting the search for the second bombing suspect.

All through the workday on Friday I kept listening in the hopes I would hear that the man (or teenager, since he is only 19 years old) had been captured and that the law enforcement officers who have been actively pursuing him were able to return, safe and sound, to their families, and the victims of the bombings would be able to receive some answers and justice for what had happened.

As I pondered these things, however, I began to think about what an absolute frenzy these bombings have caused.

Just minutes after the bombs were detonated, posts and pictures started popping up on Facebook with people expressing their condolences and their vows to stand with Boston and support the city during this hour of crisis.

Hundreds and thousands of people started figuring out ways to help, either there at the scene by helping the wounded or rushing to hospitals to donate blood, or from far away by sending donations, setting up funds, organizing events and holding prayer vigils.

People automatically came together for the common goal of supporting and helping those affected by Monday’s events and there was an almost tangible swelling of national pride as many expressed that we as Americans would overcome this tragedy and press forward.

And as I thought about these things, I further began to think about the fact that as horrific as this event was, has anyone stopped to consider events just like this happen almost daily in the lands overseas where Americans who are still deployed are being shot at and bombed and killed?

It happens almost daily in other parts of the world where citizens have to hide, where they are scared to come out of their homes, where children can’t even be children because they are shoved into the guerilla armies or forced into slavery.

Maybe it was the fact that the Boston Marathon bombing happened on our own soil at a beloved traditional event that made it more sensationalized, but we can’t forget these kinds of things happen every single day in other countries and most of the time we just turn a blind eye to it because it’s “not our problem.”

When events like all the ones that have taken place this week occur, we as Americans are shaken out of our comfort zones.

People start to examine the disasters and wonder, just as I was also guilty of doing, what will happen next? How did things get so bad in our country?

Make no mistake, the bombings and explosions and the manhunt have all been horrific, but we can’t forget that this isn’t our everyday life here in the United States of America.

With all the “problems” our country has (and yes, there are many), we are still privileged enough to live in a democratic society where our people are free, our children can be children, we can live our lives as we choose, and for the most part, we don’t have to live in fear of the next attack that will happen.

In the grand scheme of things, we are still very blessed.

My heart has broken over the tragedy of the past several days, but I am also reminded to be thankful in the midst of the tragedy for the remaining blessings we have – the blessings of life, liberty and freedom.

My heart goes out to those who are hurting and affected by all these disasters and we should all keep them in our prayers in the days and months to come.