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Light outshines darkness: A mother's reaction to the Boston Marathon tragedy

Hannah Nicole Martin

Editor's note: This post by Rachel Martin originally appeared on her blog, Finding Joy. It has been shared here with the author's permission.

This morning I read the news about the little boy who died in Boston as he went to hug his father who had just finished running the marathon. And my heart, my mothering, real person, believes in the good of humanity heart broke just a bit.

He was just a boy.

Last night my oldest daughters began wondering if that evil in Boston could happen here where we live and sadly, I had to tell them yes. Evil exists.

But we cannot allow the potential for evil to steal our joy.

That's the goal of this cowardly type of behavior to instill fear, to rob of joy, and to freeze up culture. But we're a strong people we're a community of people that will rip our shirts off of our back and help another person who is simply in need. All of the worries that were once so important will fade away and vanish as we move from extras to real need.

I've seen it.

But, we also get busy. I get busy and I allow things that aren't of as great of importance to cloud my real important. I worry more about getting the living room floor clean than helping others get food on the table. I see my lawn and want it green and forget about those who just need water. It's a balance, such a balance. It's not about giving up and not taking care of the gifts in our home, but it's maintaining the perspective of the real importants. It's knowing, at some level, that all of these extras are truly gifts and shouldn't be thought of as just expected.

Life is a gift.

The little boys sitting at my kitchen table asking for another organic lollipop this morning are all gifts. Are they loud? Yes. Do the disobey? Yes. Sometimes do they get into trouble? Their room is a mess, their clothes with knees ripped, there are holes dug in my yard from them, and they often push me to my absolute limit. Yet, the bottom line is those boys are gifts. Blessings. Just as those in your life right now, those little ones that sometimes challenge, are gifts.

It's that beautiful normal that we lose sight of until it is ripped from us.

And then we see it again this gift of life this we don't know the brevity of our days but oh my goodness at this moment we are so grateful for them type of vision. We see the need to tiptoe into our little ones' bedrooms and kiss them on the forehead and simply watch them sleep. We say yes to the sucker in the morning just this one time because we love them. We are grateful for the dinners at the table and the kids buckled in the car. And our heart mourns for those who have had normal stolen from them.

We cannot live in fear of losing normal. Then we lose.

However, we can live our lives with a posture that celebrates normal. We can set up checks in our day to remind us of the beauty in normal (read why vacuuming should always be beautiful). And we can remember that even though every moment will not be amazing that the moments that we do have to live are gifts. It doesn't mean that we are going to be happy, joyful, chipper and optimistic every single second. It does mean that at our core we are simply aware that living, and life, and this day is a gift.

It's opportunity.

Today is an opportunity to demonstrate the good in people. Hold the door, smile at the person behind the coffee counter, email a friend and let them know you're grateful they're in your life, pick up the phone and tell someone you love them, play with your kids, and stop for a moment and just be thankful. Gratitude, practice it, practice it, practice it. Even if it is making yourself come up with just two things you are thankful for do it. It's a discipline, this gratitude way of living, and at the core of it is an understanding of the unbelievable gift of normal.

My heart aches for those families in Boston. Aches. I don't get evil. But I do get, and do believe in the tenacity and spirit of you and me and others out there. You can make a difference. In fact, you do make a difference.

Bless others today. Be grateful for all you do have. Look for joy.

Light outshines darkness.