The Boston Bombing and Butterflies

butterfly one

By Kenneth Justice

(In light of the heart-wrenching events in Boston yesterday I’m putting on hold my follow-up article to yesterday’s topic of lifetime love).

Whenever a tragedy occurs like yesterday, you are certain to know the headlines the following day;

Tragedy Strikes —-“, “Shooting in —-“, and “Massacre at —” are all popular taglines that we humans have come to terms with as a sad, but realistic element of the human experience we call living in a society.

Another sad element of society are the people who try to capitalize on tragedy, and no, I’m not talking about the media, there are already enough articles on the media’s obsession with bad news.

I’m talking about the people who take bombings, airplanes flying into buildings, and psychopathic gun shooters and try to turn those stories into a way to push their agenda.

Yesterday the Twitter world exploded with the tweet, “Please don’t be a Muslim or Arab“……and I am going to be honest; I was thinking the same thing last night. As I sat there in front of the television watching the press coverage, it went through my mind a few times; “dear god, I really hope it wasn’t a Muslim or Arab who did this”

I have very close acquaintances, dare I say friends, who hate Muslims and Arabs. Call them bigots, racists, I’m sure there are plenty of adjectives  to describe these miserable people I know. After 9/11 these people told me repeatedly, “We should just nuke Iraq, Iran and every other Muslim country and be done with those people“….and the scary thing was that when they told me this, they really meant it.

After the Fort Hood shooting my one anti-Muslim acquaintance told me, “See, once again I was right; its these damn Muslims that are the problem, they shouldn’t even be allowed to live in the United States”.

An even scarier component of these ‘friends’ of mine, is that for the most part; they are all fundamentalist Christians; thus the people who say they represent Jesus of Nazareth, the man who came to unite all races, he who was called “The Prince of Peace”….these ‘followers’ are the ones that want to wipe Muslims and Arabs off the face of the earth.

bfly2

And so all of this brings me to butterflies and the age old chaos theorem that a butterfly flapping its wings in Boston will have an effect on the weather a thousand miles away. 

Of course mass murder on a grand scale has a much more powerful impact than butterflies ever could. The events of 9/11 led to the Iraq War, a war that appears to have been an entire blunder filled with meaningless objectives and goals that we’re never obtained.

Thankfully, it would appear that the culture has shifted in Washington D.C. on both sides of the aisle and I suspect neither political party is ready to send out the F-16’s as quickly as they agreed to under President Bush.

But where does this leave us; you and me, the average citizen?

Should we spend hours of our life getting lost in questions like, “where was god yesterday?” or “how can god allow such evil to take place?”

There’s nothing wrong with such questions but when it comes down to it; there aren’t any easy answers to the problem of evil and why god would allow such things. Pastors, Rabbis, Ministers, many of the world’s greatest religious people claim to have an answer to the problem of evil, but many of those answers leave us more perplexed than when we started out on our quest for truth.

I don’t pretend to know the answer.

I do know that evil exists. Bad things happen.

And how we respond toward it will demonstrate what kind of character you and I have.

The majority of us live thousands of miles away from Boston and the immediate impact of yesterday escapes our normal day-to-day lives. Like any other morning I am here sitting at a coffee shop writing this post; life goes on for me.

However, the events of yesterday are impactful toward my life in a different way beside my ability to go to coffee…..they remind me that life is precious, it is fleeting, and if I’m not careful I could miss life as it passes me by.

I have relatives and friends who are obsessed with being know-it-all’s, their religion, their beliefs, their politics, and their philosophies have turned them into miserable individuals…..I don’t want to be like that.

I don’t want to hold grudges.

I don’t want to be a racist.

I don’t want to harbor an attitude against people.

I don’t want to be bitter.

I want to embrace every moment as though it might be my last. I want to live life to the fullest and reach out in a spirit of love toward my fellow humans.

These things sound nice to say but the reality of it is many people are hurting;

* Divorce has left some of us bitter and we don’t think we could ever love or be loved again

* The necessity of a career has taken some of us away from our friends and family and we feel alone.

* Social networks like Facebook have some of us feeling down and we would love to just have a friend to get coffee with once in a while.

* Family and friends have gossiped about us and it pains us to forgive them

*Our girlfriends, boyfriends, and spouses have gotten into routines that are bland and boring, we feel stifled and want something more out of the relationship

*a loved one has died and we are grappling with emotions we’ve never felt before

A million different things are going on in our lives and it is easy to allow those issues to swallow us up, to engulf us in a chasm that becomes difficult to get out of.

Are we embracing life or being swallowed up by it?

How are you coping with the emotional elements in your life?

Where do you find the strength to keep carrying on?

The tragedy in Boston reminds me that in a world of evil, love is of the utmost concern in my life.

I’m glad I have my coffee…..it is a comfort during times like this….

Kenneth



Categories: Culture & Society, Photography

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

56 replies

  1. So be it! AMEN! 🙂 PS The butterfly image is gorgeous!!!

    • Actually Jesus was not the man who came to unite all races. Jesus was God that came to save the lost. Nice butterflies.

  2. Amen. Well said. Defense not Offense.

  3. The tragedy in Boston seems to be overshadowing the tragedies constantly unfolding in Somalia, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Iraq, for example. Perhaps it’s on American soil and, somehow, makes it seem closer and more foreboding? We are all equally vulnerable to tragedy, and we are all equally capable of love and compassion. My hope is that we are sufficiently entrenched in love and compassion to rise above the fear of tragedy. Thank you!

    • Margarita,

      thanks for your thoughts.

      You spelled out succinctly many of my thoughts…..

      A good 1/3 of my daily news reading is comprised of whats going in other parts of the world,

      To a certain extent it is expected that the Americans will always pay more attention to immediate impact of whats going on here in the U.S.

      However, I have a growing concern that Americans are too ethnocentric and seem to live in a bubble; the things that occurs outside of the U.S. are too often largely ignored.

  4. Reblogged this on Maureen Hains and commented:
    A touching and thoughtful write up on what our world has been for eons… none of this is new. Just read the Old Testament Bible. Grateful for my cousin Rick Mason who ran fast and hard – finished the race in 3 hours and 27 minutes – and made it back to his hotel before the bombs went off. Grieving the lives lost and the lives forever changed.

  5. A beautiful post. Thank you.

  6. It begins in us, this social decline and it ends with us. It is a universal decline and only the still small voices of love, mercy and hope will quell this evil which is steamrolling across the universe. I enjoyed reading your post today. Thank you for standing in the gap with a light of hope, may it be contagious…

  7. Reblogged this on Poet Charms and commented:
    Beautiful, well written post.
    Let’s embrace all those suffering today with hopes for better tomorrow!

  8. I am honored to make your acquIantance…I fully see what you are getting at.The awfulness of the response doubles the tragedy.I am reading a wonderful book about retalaiation and revenge and will out a post in about it soon as it seems so needed.We are having the pseudo-military csate funeral here tomorrow for Maggie Thatcher and am concerned about the effect it will have,
    I love your photographs.I am just a beginner but seeing yours encourages me.Thank you

  9. Reblogged this on Lepping Land and commented:
    Really beautiful,thoughtful post with stunning photos too

  10. i was just commenting to my friends on facebook (yes i broke my vow and went to facebook lol -but after seeing a comment it was needed) and posted about how this incident does appear to be terrorism and while we generally associate muslims/arabs with terrorism they are far from the only ones. last i checked – tim mcveigh was a white american male who served in our military and he and terry nichols carried out the OKC bombing. hard core christians in this country have been known to bomb abortion clinics, kill those doctors – by definition that’s terrorism. it’s so important to remember that terror is color/race blind. it could be a muslim/arab but that may not be and even when it is – it was just that individual or small group – that doesn’t represent ALL muslims or arabs. i also really love how you talk about how easy it is to fall into that pit of negativity. when it comes down to it, being negative is just plain easier than to remain positive/optimistic. there’s work involved with being optimistic and then when it goes wrong, the nay sayers say “told ya so.” the problem is – those folks forget there’s a lot more reward to staying positive – it may take longer to get here but it does and it pays dividends when it does. i know im not always the most positive person but i try. when i get into a negative rut, it’s a snowball effect and it never accomplishes anything. as for the media – well again i’d say it’s a reflection of what people want to read – remember media outlets are in business and to stay in business they have to produce what people will watch – again a vicious cycle that im not fond of either. thank you for posting this! another great post as usual 🙂

    • Jen,

      “it’s so important to remember that terror is color/race blind”

      right on

      btw; we all go back to Facebook eventually 😦 it’s like a evil black hole that sucks us back into it’s vortex

  11. Beautiful picture. The blog post as well was well written. These thoughts are similar to my own with the exception that I am religious. I am one of those people who “claim to know the origins of evil” However I am not bitter. What upsets me here is those friends of yours who now have hatred towards muslims. That is a terrible extreme. I was truly saddened read that part especially.

  12. Reblogged this on The Perks of Being a Gemini and commented:
    Often when I can’t find the words, someone else has already said them for me.

  13. Reblogged this on soadhachami and commented:
    the beating
    of my blazing wings
    will rock the souls
    of a billion things
    good or bad
    does not bother me
    I live to breathe,
    eat
    and be………..
    the tears that flow
    never rock my soul
    nor do I care what
    lives or grows
    as long as I’m
    free to fly and be
    then no one would ever bother me ………

  14. I appreciate the way you’ve approached this issue and the points you’ve made. I’d like to add my two sense on just a couple things though. Christians who insult the Islam or Jewish faith generally overlook that by doing so they also insult their own faith. The systematic denigration of a religious group as a whole for the actions of one or few are never appropriate, especially since most westerners don’t understand or know the history of the Wahabbi sect of Islam; the sect that produces almost all of the modern day ‘Muslim” terrorists. Of course… this isn’t the place to line that history out.
    The last thing I would like to address is ‘How can God allow such evil in the world.’ This is a statement that while seeming pertinent is actually just another method by which to show a lack or expected responsibility within human beings. God didn’t do this. A person did this. We were all gifted with free will. It’s how I can decide to pick up and go get an orange or an apple from my fruit bowl. The choice is mine. If I choose to blow up the fruit bowl instead of taking a snack that’s on me; god had nothing to do with it. You can’t hold people accountable for their own actions when you wallow in the wonder of how god could allow such actions. God’s culpability only extends so far as giving us the tools to make our own choices in our life and either waste, embrace or destroy what is in their lives. Once we stop asking why God would allow this and move onto the more important questions of ‘Why did this person do this’, then we can begin to better understand what and why is going on within these people so we can make strides to better prevent and manage crisis like this that pop up and perhaps become more sensitive in our society and prevent events like this. For those who still believe that only God could allow or disallow something so painful to occur, consider this: if God did ‘allow’ this to happen there has to be some greater reason in it that we can’t (or don’t wish) to see. In every tragedy there is an equally powerful positive lesson that can be learned if we open ourselves. That doesn’t mean to revel in pain and destruction, but to face and learn the hard lessons it presents us with so that we can progress as sentient beings and improve OURSELVES.
    It’s not by ridding ourselves en masse of those who are different that makes us better people or the world a better place. Power over others is an illusion. It’s mastery of ourselves that brings true power and understanding; as well as a positive way to respond to things like this. We shouldn’t be pointing fingers or worrying about the religion of the attacker, we should be focused on helping the survivors and helping the community to heal. Sorry for talking so much, I’m stopping now!

  15. thank you for being good,honest. there are so many wars we don’t even know about; they are everywhere and everyone is battling them silently. I hope love overcomes ignorance and if it doesn’t so be it.WE (everyone who has a clear conscience) will survive nonetheless. have a nice day 🙂

  16. Thank you for this post 🙂

  17. Reblogged this on Organic Play and commented:
    Great thoughts written at coffee this morning, http://culturemonk.com/

  18. I really liked this post a lot. I, too, hope it was not a Muslim or Arab who did the Boston bombing. A sad commentary on our society. Racism is alive and well, unfortunately for all, for the racists themselves who are filled with hate. Thanks for posting. The butterfly theme worked so very well.

  19. Very well thought out post. You don’t have listen to people to know that they do not practice the Christian faith that they espouse to believe in. Watch them cutting each other off as they leave the parking lot after services have ended. Thanks for visiting again and the like of my post “Cloud Reflections”.

  20. Kenneth, your piece is, in a word, poignant. Many of your thoughts are very much my own on so many levels, but that has no place here today. My life pales as the focus needs to be elsewhere. With your permission I would like to reblog this on riding2horses.com. A reblog is somethng I haven’t tried and hopefully I will do it right. I’ll message you if I need help. I want so much to pass this along. Wishing you a blessing. ~ S

  21. Reblogged this on Sandra Lafferty's Blog and commented:
    This post is reblogged from The Culture Monk by Kenneth Justice. It is moving, eye-opening and honest. I share it here because I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  22. thank you, thank you, thank you!

    I’m thinking of what Solzhenitsyn said came to him in the gulag. He kept on wanting to assign the label “evil” to the ones who’d sent him there, reserving the label “good” for himself. One day it came to him with shattering clarity that, in fact, the line dividing good from evil ran down through the middle of his heart….

    • Yeoldefoole…….okay, so you win the award for first person to reference Alexander Solzhenitsyn on my website….wish I had something to give. I only wish the Gulag Archipelago was revised so it was more palatable for the average american…It is a must read for all those interested in one of the most intense periods of human history.

  23. wow! thanks for liking my post so that I could have the privilege of reading this. Beautiful and true words here.

  24. jWhat a great thought provoking post. How many coffees did this take? 🙂

  25. I had the same thought: “I really hope it was not a Muslim, Iranian, North Korean…or anyone else who represents to the media and politicians a country we are thinking of attacking.
    I am a pacifist and everything something like this happens I struggle to make sense of it.
    This one feels much more personal to me. I live near Boston and have gone to the Marathon every year since 1966 until last year. My sons and their friends have run the marathon in past years. For some reason that I can not even comprehend, none of them did this year.
    My sons and I knew 5 people who died in 9/11 – living in Boston, you know people flying out of Logan. So far, we don’t know anyone who was hurt in the marathon bombing…physically. But emotionally, mentally, psychologically we have all been hurt.
    Still, I take hope in the fact that there were many people who rushed to help and the outpouring of support to Boston and those associated with the marathon has been uplifting.
    My heart is broken, but I have not lost hope.

  26. I agreed with almost all of your posting… unfortunately, even though your friends may regard themselves as “fundamental Christians”, they are not living up to the name. Fundamental means that as a Christian, a person takes the Bible literally. They (dare I say “I”) believe that the Bible is God’s unfalible Word. Therefore, if they were truly fundamental, they wouldn’t judge Muslims or Arabs, or anyone else for that matter. In my opinion, anyone saying “it HAS to be them”, is guilty of racial profiling. Remind your Christian friends to be careful of how they judge people because as we judge, so will we be judged. Thanks for your thoughtful post. God bless those in Boston and around the world who were subjected to yesterday’s horror.

  27. “… in a world of evil, love is of the utmost concern in my life”. — This is a beautiful thought

  28. Why do so many of you want the terrorist to be a white male American Christian carrying an AR-15. I really don’t understand that way of thinking. Choosing sides, as though you are rooting for one side or the other, is….is….I don’t know what it is. Maybe if the media would have shown the blood, tears, screams and missing limbs, instead of the old man falling down and the smoke maybe y’all wouldn’t be having this conversation. Maybe more concern would be about how to prevent this kinda crap from happening again. If nothing else we can go crucify a Christian, maybe that will solve everything. Oh yeah, nice photo. Steve

  29. Kenneth, you’ve done it again. Bravo! And yes, folks, check my blog, I am a christian. Proud to be. But I do not judge others, but instead choose to love them as my Lord Jesus taught me. As you ask not to judge all Arabs, please don’t judge ANY group by the vocal. True believers do love. What happened in Foston was horrible, no matter who did it. Leave politics, racism, bigotry, and hate out of it.

    Why not concentrate on mercy and compassion for the families of the victims and survivors. Some of the survivors have horrors we can’t imagine yet to go through just to survive.

    In Love. Keep on telling it like it is, Kenneth. Thanks.

  30. Foston? should be Boston. lol

  31. As a Bostonian,, this is how I see it

  32. I am reminded of Wordsworth’s line “a deep sorrow hath humanized my soul.”

    Boston, and events like it, can humanize us or divide us. It’s all in how we respond.

  33. Hey thanks for the visit and like on my blog, you have a great blog here.

  34. Watching the beautiful interfaith service at Holy Cross Cathedral in Boston — it was an emotional and healing and affirming experience for any of us in Boston, capped off by the President’s masterful speech that captured the very essence and unique, sometimes misunderstood spirit of this city.

    I was so proud to see all the clerics seated on the altar, representing the various religions. And listening to their speeches, I was struck by the realization that one of the most comforting and effective speakers was the guy representing Islam, and I found myself nodding in agreement with and finding strength in his quotes from the Koran.

    I was raised Catholic and now pay little heed to the formal religions and do not operate by any type of ethnicity-religion filter. We are all one, sharing the same journey, just trying to make it in this life. People do horrible things every day, driven by various motives. There is no reason to prejudge any particular group. As it’s said, “Let he who is without sin…”

    Thanks to all who supported our city. #BostonStrong

  35. You said it well. For me the choice is, not knowing what is going on, do I trust that God is in control and is purely and simply good?

  36. Wow, you write with such vigour and ease too. Straight from the heart. Could learn a lot from you. I THINK for months before writing some things but perhaps that’s just the way I am and we are all different. Your writing is amazing and the italics helps me so much as I’m partially sighted wearing dark glasses night and day. Great post – thought provoking. Thanks for even looking at mine.

  37. First, thanks for visiting my blog. I hadn’t posted in a while and just needed to capture some things for myself from the last week.

    With that said…as someone who does live in Boston, last week’s events did affect me personally. I’m not sure how much you read about what I posted, but it is a place where, well, I won’t say that everybody knows your name, but it’s small enough that we are all interconnected. Many of us had close family and friends who were at the finish line when everything happened (and most of us were lucky enough to have most of those friends and family ultimately walk away unharmed). At the same time, if we didn’t know anyone who was immediately touched by the tragedy, we know someone who does.

    I also happen to live in the area that was on lockdown for 12 hours on Friday. And as we’ve now emerged, it is interesting to see the reactions from those who weren’t actually there. The perceptions are entirely different.

    Now that I’m out there reading so many different opinions and experiences, I want to say that, yes, I was living in the moment. And no, I wasn’t really thinking about anyone other than my own family and friends during that week. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t understand what others in this world go through every single day. The courage that it takes to live their every day lives. And I don’t just mean the people who are living in areas that are in a state of war; I also understand that there are people who live side by side with me who are under siege each and every moment of their day, be it because of race, religion, or whatever the reason may be.

    So, like you, as I (hopefully) come back into my own routine every day life, I am trying to focus on love and kindness. On how I can make sure that those are the messages I spread and support, and on how I can be sure that I am raising my kids to do the same.

    Again, thank you for visiting and liking my blog posts from last week. I look forward to reading more from you as well.

  38. The sad thing is my Dad said something like this… he believes the right wing bigots in the newspapers. I can’t even begin to argue… I know my Dad is a good person who would help anyone in trouble, if they were Muslim, Jew, Christian, or non-religious. Yet he says these racist things. Mind you plenty of white anglo saxon, Australian-born people are racist, bigoted or just ignorant and full of hate. All I know is that hating is not the answer.

  39. This is great….found it after you stopped by and dropped a “like” on my post yesterday. Thank you.

  40. Thank you for writing this post. Every time a tragedy occurs I start praying that the person responsible isn’t a Muslim. When a person of some other faith does any heinous act no one points his religion but if a Muslim does it all and sundry wants to nuke all the Muslims and their countries. Thanks for writing your views

  41. This is one of the best piece i’ve read…here!

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