There is a book I read that helps direct me on a path of enlarging my spiritual life. It includes spiritual directions on how to achieve holiness and closeness to my Higher Power. Within it lie the secrets and the prescription for spiritual continuity. If I am to survive and live along my spiritual path I must have values and goals — a direction and a meaning. I can learn much about my personal growth and destiny.
Two explosions went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday killing three people and injuring over a hundred.
Within an hour of the explosions, NY police sent extra security to landmarks and the White House was placed on lock down. The Boston marathon has been run since 1897 on Patriots Day, the third Monday in April. Thousands of spectators were at the event along with 27,000 runners.
President Obama made a brief statement at the White House after sending his thoughts and prayers to the victims: “We still don’t know who did this or why but make no mistake. We will get to the bottom of this. We will find out who did this. We will find out why they did this. Any responsible group will feel the full weight of justice.”
As major cities around the country raised security alerts, and the Boston police continued to search the streets for possible undetected explosives, Americans waited to hear information.
Here are four ways I believe we can respond to terror, and stay within the path of our spiritual growth:
1. Separate idealism from destruction. Many of us wonder: Why would someone plant bombs at a marathon finish line? What ideals were at stake? But it isn’t really relevant what the motivation of the terrorist was because while terrorists may declare their ideals, the only real goal of any terrorist is to destroy. Lives. Families. Societies. Acts of terror are carried out purposefully, in cold-blooded, calculated fashion. The declared goals of the terrorist may change from place to place. He supposedly fights to remedy wrongs-social, religious, national, and racial. But for all these problems his only solution is the demolition of the whole structure of society. No partial solution, not even the total redressing of the grievance he complains of, will satisfy him- until our social system is destroyed or delivered into his hands.”
2. Pray. Say a prayer not only for the victims and their families but also for mankind. We are living in a generation when these attacks have become so common; some of us don’t even pause when we hear the latest news. Let’s stop. Think about those who were killed, who lost limbs, who lost any sense of normalcy and security. When we pray we are not only asking God to heal those who are injured, we are also sensitizing ourselves to share the burden of others in whatever way we can. Even if it’s just a moment of silence or a few sentences that we whisper to ourselves, it helps.
3. Help. Even for those of us who don’t live in Boston, there are ways to help. We can send a card or a gift basket to the injured victims in the hospital or to their families. Or get involved in organizations that help terror victims and their families. Do something even if it’s just writing an email or tweet of support and comfort for the victims. Being proactive helps us to regain our hope and sanity.
4.Gratitude. We need to treat each day as a gift. Appreciate what we have today. Our families, our friends, our health and our peace.
If we are to grow from this and enlarge our spirituality it is not enough to keep on the same level that you were on the previous day. Rather, each day should be a climb higher than the day before. When difficult tests come our way, we might not always appreciate them. The only way to keep on elevating our self is to keep passing more and more difficult life-tests. View every difficulty as a means of elevating ourselves by applying the appropriate spiritual principles. At the end of each day, we ask ourselves, “What did I do today to elevate myself a little higher?” If you cannot find an answer, ask yourself, “What can I plan to do tomorrow to elevate myself?”
May Our Higher Power give us the courage and the strength to help each other up and face yesterday’s brokenness together.