After checking to make sure that two friends who were running the Boston Marathon were OK, my husband, 20-year-old daughter, and I sat down to watch the CNN coverage of the bomb blasts in Boston. But we were switching back and forth between CNN and the Nats/Marlins game. The Nats were making up for their discouraging show against Atlanta over the weekend and were up 8-0 and we needed some good news. Can you become inured to horror? Apparently.

There wasn’t much real news to report out of Boston. They just kept airing the same footage of the man in the orange shirt, his legs descending into unnatural angles as he fell from the impact of the blast near the finish line. Unlike the Oklahoma City bombing where people assumed it was someone from the Middle East, I was grateful that Anderson Cooper and others were being very careful not to make assumptions about who was responsible. I found myself flinching when they said to be on the lookout for a man with dark skin and possibly an accent.

At some point, I became aware that my husband and I were watching with a kind of protective covering. After all we have watched too many tragedies unfold before our eyes, and have become desensitized to images of senseless violence on screens. But our daughter, who was 8 on 9/11 and was carefully shielded from those images, suddenly broke through our remove. She burst into tears and cried out, “How am I supposed to live my life? Am I not supposed to run in a race?” She’s doing the GW Parkway 5K this weekend. “Am I not supposed to go to a movie on a Friday night? Am I not supposed to go to school? There’s a shooting every week!” For a moment, my husband and I sat mute, empty. What kind of a world are our children being raised in? What can we possibly say to reassure her? How will she ever be able to comfort her own children at the rate we’re going?

I immediately went to hug her which she tenderly accepted and her sobs softened as I stroked her hair, a moment of rare physical intimacy between us now, but for a while I said nothing. I could make no promises that the world is a safe place and that everything will be alright. She knows better now. What we did tell her is that the crazy thing about life is that you can’t escape death. And that bad, unfair, sick things happen in the world and that as she gets older, they will happen to people she knows; that the intent of terrorists, whether they are homegrown or foreign, is to inflict terror; but that we have to be very careful and responsible about how we use the word ‘terrorist,’ because one person’s terrorist is another's freedom fighter; that our country, in essence, was birthed through terrorism; the British would certainly have considered Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain  Boys to be terrorists who had to be stopped.  But life is also about loving and being loved and caring for others and being cared for and we don’t get life and love without death. We don’t get to be human without all of our tragic and sick flaws.

This morning, I feel almost as impotent as a parent as I do a priest. Many of my clergy friends on Facebook have posted the same collect from the Compline service, or the same words of Fred Rogers about helping people. This morning, though, I am turning to the psalms where the full range of human emotion can be found. The short Psalm 13 seems to capture my sense of outrage and helplessness. How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? is how it begins. But it ends, But I trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me. Amen.