Monday, April 15, 2013

Crisis

I love crises.

That's probably an interesting thing to say, but it's true. I work with sexual assault survivors. I am a sexual assault survivor. I have to love crises. It's not a love that is rooted in a like; it's a love that's rooted in my addiction to community, to bandaging wounds, to lifting faces towards the sun, and if I'm being honest, to making myself useful on a broader scale. It's a love that I've built out of a hate.

So when I heard about the Boston bombings, I had to resist a little bit before jumping on the social media bandwagon, and then, apparently, gave in.

I had several initial thoughts. Against my better judgment or my personality in general, but perhaps excusably, my thoughts went sour. If things like this are just going to happen without any sort of rhyme or reason, and by extension, if I have to watch so many of my friends and family (and myself) deal with the aftermath of our own demons and monsters and terrorists, then by golly, I don't want to live on this planet anymore. We humans have doomed ourselves. If thousands of years of evolution could weed out several of our weaker traits, why hasn't it gotten rid of the sadistic ones? We can't stop this. We can't just get rid of a few bad apples. We all have to die. That's the only way to fix this.

But I can't afford to think like that. Evolution can't suppress something that is innately and inertly human. But luckily, there is a counterpoint to all of the madness. This is the beauty and the curse of a crisis: nothing else allows us to experience the extremes of human capability over such a short period of time.

Nothing.

It begins with the bad, and evolves somehow into this brilliant example of inter-woven community. Mr. Rogers said it best when he talked about what his mother would say when he saw something awful happening. "Look for the helpers. You will always find people that are helping."

Look for the helpers. That is our saving grace. Grace, the theme of my life, that beautiful, sweet redemption. Because being human is about experiencing those extremes. It's about our capability to destroy, but more importantly, it's about our capability and responsibility to repair. It is our thoughts and our prayers and our hard-working hands that save our species from becoming as barbaric as our darker halves suggest. Our spirit is what develops us, changes us, and keeps us human. We have been and have become a species capable of surviving adverse situations. And when we survive, we grow.

Just keep growing.

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