It has been an unsettled and worried evening in our home. Doubtless you have all heard about the dreadful bombing attack in Boston today; well, among those injured were Raymond’s younger brother, his wife, and their daughter, who had been spectators at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Both my brother- and sister-in-law had to undergo emergency surgery tonight, and there may be more surgeries ahead. This is a shocking, and very scary, thing.
It reminds one of how utterly unpredictable and how terribly fragile life is. Perhaps we should all think about that a little bit more than we usually do.
As a minister’s child, I learned at an early age about the sudden sharp and shocking turns that life can take. I think I’ve written here before how one never knew what a knock at the door of the Manse, or the telephone ringing there, might bring. Too often it was frightening news, or even tragedy. Sudden critical illness. A terrible accident, and life in the balance. Suicide. People’s lives changed forever, in the twinkling of an eye.
That’s why ministers are there: to help in those terrible and frightening situations. My father was very good at that.
A few minutes ago Raymond and I watched as a young surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital, who had been on the job since 8 this morning and had operated on several of today’s victims – and was about to head back to work – answered reporters’ questions about today’s devastation. He spoke honestly and calmly, not trying to cover up how bad it was. Most importantly, though, you could tell he was a caring person who was supremely good at his job – at helping. He was doing his very best, and his best was clearly very good indeed. He just made you feel better about this terrible, terrible thing.
It is a comfort to know that there are people like that doctor to help in an awful time like today has been in Boston. And like my dad always was at awful times in our little community in Queensborough.
I suspect that that doctor, and my father, are and were always more keenly aware of how precious and fragile life is than the rest of us are. Maybe we should try to be a bit more like them.
And my friends – I hope you will remember Ron, Karen and Krystara Brassard in your prayers tonight.