Yesterday was the last day to file taxes. The dreaded April 15th was upon us. A meeting with exhausted, faithful CPA to sign documents, write out checks, then swing by the trusty US Post Office to pop that IRS-addressed envelope in the mailbox.
As we drove into the long steady-moving queue of cars in the drive-through mail box lane, I was struck by how much trust we were all placing in this system. We had complete trust that the box would be emptied that day. Trust that all letters would be retrieved. Trust that every piece of mail would get the much-needed April 15th postmark stamp. Trust that all our checks would subsequently be delivered to the IRS. Trust that these thousands, probably millions, separate items would be matched with a big all-knowing master database that contains our personal information. It is truly a-w-e-s-o-m-e when you reflect on all the different steps in this process, the different hands involved, the many opportunities for something to go wrong. Many, many moving parts.
We dropped the envelope with our check in the mail box and then pressed on to our next destination. As we entered the Costco store with the big-as-houses-TV-screens dazzling your senses in the entryway, we were smacked in the face by high-definition bloody scenes on the pavement behind the CNN reports in the foreground on a collage of screens. What? The Boston Marathon? A Bomb? No, two bombs. People killed. Many injured. Dismembered.
Surely it had to be a gas leak. This couldn’t be a premeditated act of violence against Marathon runners. Could it? Why? This is a scene where two brothers turn out to support a friend. A young boy meets his dad and hugs him at the finishing line. Husband and wife run together. There is a sense of jubilation, accomplishment, elevated spirits, delicious exhaustion. Trusted officials keep order and offer assistance. Trusted EMS personnel treat dehydration and muscle cramps. It’s cozy. It’s family. It’s safe. We trust that all these things are true.
Then two bombs exploded. The two brothers lost legs. The young boy lost his life after that finish line hug. Coziness evaporated. Safety was no longer.
Trust was broken. Innocence was lost. A glass was shattered that can never be put back together in the same way. But we cannot retreat, shrink, hide away, or bury ourselves in ever-greater layers of false protection. Our call is to press on, grieve, support, heal and show up again.