A week ago a couple of bombs constructed out of pressure cookers and hate wreaked havoc on the Boston Marathon finish line. The attack resulted in loss of life and limb, and – for a few days – freedom, while law enforcement shut down the city to search for suspects.
A few days after the bombing, a fertilizer factory in Texas exploded, rocking the town of West for blocks, knocking surrounding buildings off their foundations, killing or injuring the unsuspecting people in and outside the factory, within the affected radius.
In the wake of the Boston attack, Boston PD and the FBI and other agencies that don’t routinely converge on a city and work together so closely worked together. The New York Yankees displayed a Boston Red Sox logo at Yankee Stadium, out of compassion for the city that’s home to the team, albeit a rival. Citizens of Boston threw an impromptu street party after law enforcement arrested the second suspect. People who don’t even know each other broke into spontaneous song, holding up cell phones while shouting the national anthem.
After the explosion in Texas, I imagine many Americans – like I – sat stunned in front of a TV, shocked and saddened by the sight and sound of a shattered community. Pope Francis tweeted a prayer to his millions of followers, 16.8K of whom have retweeted it so far. People in (and I’m sure outside of) Texas donated “essential items,” gift cards, cash, and blood to people they’ll never meet.
Amazes me every time the way tragedy can propel us toward unity. It reminds me of funerals, of God using what nobody likes to draw us back together, and closer to Him.