Choosing Life: A Response to the Boston Marathon Bombing

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 16: Young children stand with lit candles during a vigil for eight-year-old Martin Richard, from Dorcheste
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 16: Young children stand with lit candles during a vigil for eight-year-old Martin Richard, from Dorchester, who was killed by an explosion near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 16, 2013 at Garvey Park in Boston, Massachusetts. The twin bombings resulted in the deaths of three people and hospitalized at least 128. The bombings at the 116-year-old Boston race resulted in heightened security across the nation with cancellations of many professional sporting events as authorities search for a motive to the violence. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

An Abrupt End

On Monday, life in America took on a different meaning.

At 2:50 p.m., the Boston Marathon came to an abrupt and tragic end. Two explosions ripped through the finish line, killing at least three and injuring 176 innocent beings, turning a sunny day of celebration into a gloomy day of devastation.

All at once, our sense of safety and security was shattered. Whenever death intrudes, life just seems so vulnerable. The painful feelings of grief and helplessness cannot be ignored: How should we respond? What can we do in the face of such ruthless brutality?

'Choose Life!'

Amid the ambiguities and confusion, a fascinating juxtaposition stood clear: On the one hand, a group of runners and their fans had assembled to celebrate life. On the other, a group of murderers gathered to spew evil and destruction. Although Moses commanded us to "choose life, so that you and your children may live" (Deuteronomy, 30:19), the bomber(s) chose death. Ironically, the sanctity of life that we cherish so deeply disturbs those who hate it so fervently.

And here lies the key to our response: We must respond to death by strengthening our commitment to life and experiencing fully its every moment. Passionate hatred toward living a life imbued by the Godly values on which our country was founded, must be fought with a passionate love for it. Forces who wish to destroy life ought to be challenged by forces who aspire to build life with purpose and direction. True, our government and its agencies should do everything in its power to eradicate any person or body that seeks to harm its citizens. But it is not enough to focus on that which we are fighting against; we must also know that which we are fighting for.

Yesterday's Finish Line is Today's Starting Line

"An unexamined life is not worth living," Socrates famously said. Let us rise from this tragedy by ensuring that we live an examined and purposeful life. Let us leave our marks on this world for good. Let us fully realize our God-given skills and talents. Let us "choose life" and fill our years with actions of goodness and deeds of kindness.

The Boston Marathon of 2013 ended tragically, but the marathons of our lives must continue. Monday's finish line must become today's starting line.

In God we trust that ultimately, with our help, life will prevail.