If you haven't read Patton Oswalt's reaffirming note about the good of humanity in the wake of yesterday's tragic bombing attack in Boston, do it now. It's such an important reminder for us all. For me, the stark contrast between good and evil was never as clear as it was yesterday.
As a "tax baby," I celebrated my birthday yesterday, April 15. This year, I celebrated by taking a day off work and dedicating it to serving others with random acts of kindness. I delivered baked goods and thank-you notes to the local police and fire stations. I took flowers and get-well cards to the local hospital. I handed out homemade lunches to the homeless and left a gift card in my mailbox for the postman. When I got a text message from a friend about the bombings in Boston, I was handing out bottles of cold water to road crewmen working in the 90-degree Texas sun.
I was stunned, but not by the idea of a terrorist attack. After living in Washington, D.C. for 10 years in the post-9/11 world, such horrific acts of violence don't carry the same emotional shock they once did. After wrapping my brain around the news that people lost their lives yesterday, that many were injured yesterday and that countless others have been emotionally scarred, I thought about this:
I woke up this morning intent on spreading kindness, while someone else woke up with the intention to kill and maim.
It's a sobering contrast, for sure. But that's why Oswalt's reminder is so important. More people ran into the smoke yesterday to help the wounded than set off those bombs. More people opened their homes to perfect strangers.
It's as everyone's favorite neighbor, Fred Rogers, once said: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'”
The good outnumber the bad, and we always will.