There is a distinct difference between a stunned silence, and a silence offered out of respect.
I still find myself at times in a stunned silence as I try to answer questions my children have about events taking place across the country, and around the world.
I learned of the Boston Marathon bombing shortly before picking my son up from running club, at his school. There was a silence on the drive home, as I tried to come up with the right way to explain it.
It was simpler to communicate with my son about it, than with my daughter.
My daughter is in middle school, and as is the case with most children her age, there is a mobile phone attached to her life.
Sometimes news events can be delivered to her quicker than I can come up with an explanation. Often the answers are more detailed and follow the transition from childhood to adulthood, with more complexity.
There are things we see and hear about in life that we cannot understand. I don’t understand the types of evil we witness – the type of evil that assimilates itself among others and strikes when we least expect it.
I cannot understand what drives some events across the country, and around the world. I’m at a loss for words when it comes to explaining the death of innocent people – empty bedrooms where children used to sleep, now filled only with memories.
It is during these times when I hug my children a little tighter, and become more watchful. During these times, I hold on to my faith, as I do during the good and challenging times.
The only explanation I can possibly offer at times such as these is that we live in a broken world.
It isn’t an easy explanation, but it is the only way I can possibly understand events and how to discuss them with my children.
I find it much easier to focus on the parts I understand.
There are things I’ve always understood about mankind in general and America in particular – things that I saw and heard about last week.
These are the things I choose to focus on and honor with an explanation.
Most people are good. Most people do all they can to push back evil, and protect others.
While many Boston Marathon participants did not cross the finish line, many made their way to a different line – a line to donate blood to those in urgent critical need.
The Boston area is not at a loss for blood, or heroes, at this time.
Many ran towards the blasts to help others. Several removed belts and shirts, in order to create makeshift tourniquets.
Many more might have died if it were not for the care and quick actions of others – the people who choose to run towards danger instead of away from it.
We saw the same sort of actions in Texas after the fertilizer plant explosion, later last week.
There are moments when Americans just spring into action with generosity – often times those moments do not make the front pages, or the news. It is part of who we are, as Americans.
There are times when it is much easier to explain the parts understood.