The discourse surrounding the Boston Marathon bombings knots my stomach. I don’t understand how the brothers could target strangers. It is not possible to reconcile those actions and the permanent consequences they will have on hundreds of lives. I may never be able to understand.
The brothers are close in age to my stepsons, the descendants. My stepsons, who will always be the boys to me, continue to make ill-advised decisions to this very day. I am hopeful, with each thoughtful decision they make, that they have finally attained maturity and adulthood. With each thoughtful decision they make, I am reminded that the road to adulthood is long and winding and it can’t be traveled at warp speed.
I’d like to believe that I am an objective authority on the descendants. I feel certain they would not consider an act of intentional malice. I hope that they would not purposely hurt anyone. We haven’t raised them to be dismissive of others’ pain. The truth is, I do not know. None of us knows the secret heart of another. I have tried to be a positive influence. I’ve tried to teach them not to hate, to try to understand different perspectives, to rise above brutality. I hope I set a good example but I can’t be sure. We’ve managed to avoid epic catastrophes. To my knowledge, they are decent people, developing good character, and they appear healthy. I’m pretty sure they don’t tell outright lies, although sins of omission make an appearance now and then. We are lucky, so far.
I don’t hate the surviving brother. I am mortified by his actions. I’ve gotten even in my life. There was no value in retribution. Forgiveness is not essential but transcending hate is. Hate and retribution are cyclical. Those brothers perpetuated that cycle. I don’t want my stepsons to be part of that. The best thing I can do to prevent it, is to refuse to participate.
I don’t know what I would do if either of the boys were involved in an action that cost the lives and limbs of strangers. My initial reaction to seeing photographs of the surviving brother was one of empathy for his mother. I can imagine how she must want to hold him because he is still her child. Regardless of what he has done, she is first and foremost his mother. I hope her heart is open and she will do her best to lead him to contrition.