The sound of glass shattering. Smiles and Cheers. That was on Saturday night as Dan and Lauren officially became husband and wife. Before Dan stomped on the glass, Rabbi Ettin reminded all of us sitting under a perfect Carolina Blue sky, that life is not perfection, that life has broken pieces, and that dealing with those broken pieces is a part of life and marriage. Although I knew that was true, in that moment, surrounded by friends and family, the broken part felt far away.
Monday early afternoon Michael and I sat under that same perfect Carolina sky, drank our last Chapel Hill cup of coffee and reflected on the perfection of the weekend. We were clearly glowing POG’s (Parents of the Groom). 90 minutes later sitting at Gate C7 something changed in the air around the gate. I turned to twitter and saw “explosion” “Copley Square” “another explosion” “chaos”. I’m a Boston girl through and through. I am a Patriots Day girl. The first part of my life was spent living near Heartbreak Hill, the second in Lexington and I am now living the third half on the other side of the river, right across from the City of Boston. I had two babies in April – with due dates measured in terms of proximity to Patriots Day. My major pregnancy concern with Dan was “how would I be able to get to the hospital if I went into Labor on Patriots Day? (As it turned out, I went into labor shortly after midnight when the roads were clear and Dan was born the next day. April 16 1985. Happy 28th Birthday Dan!)
As always, we had to turn off all electronic devices as the cabin doors closed. Sometimes that is a welcome respite; Monday it was not. An hour later we learned that the airport was closed and began to circle over Providence. The airspace opened and we touched down at Logan. As I turned on my phone the messages flooded in from friends and colleagues. The caring brought tears to my eyes and was my first indication of how horrific things were. I spent Monday night glued to the television, almost unable to process what we were seeing.
Glass shattering. Blood everywhere. Screams, Cries. This was not the celebratory glass shattering of Saturday night. This was a shattering of so much that is impossible to put into words. It was a shattering for all those who have ever been to Heartbreak Hill, to those who have run the marathon, or cheered on family, friends and strangers, as they needed a boost along the route. A shattering for those who have ever been to an 11 am Red Sox Game, or have sung Sweet Caroline at Fenway Park. A shattering for those who have wondered why Charlie’s wife didn’t just give him a nickel (rather than a sandwich every day) so he could get off the MTA. A shattering for those who “love our formerly dirty but now clean water”. If you have rooted for or against the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics or Bruins this is a shattering. If your heart lurches from the beauty of Boston every time the Red Line emerges from the underground in Cambridge and crosses the river you are shattered. If you or a loved one has ever spent time getting medical care from one of our wonderful hospitals, you are shattered. And on.
Somehow each one of us must integrate the shattering of the glass on Saturday night and the shattering of the glass on Monday afternoon. The transitions between the beauty and pain of life are often seamless. However, we can and will integrate the beauty and the pain of glass shattering by caring for one another, by continuing to find the good in one another, by smiling at strangers, by helping those in our midst who need it – today and everyday, by holding our families close, by listening to our children, by finding creative and constructive ways to express our angst and anger, and most importantly, by each of us continuing to do whatever we can possibly do to make this world a better place. There will always be broken glass, there will always be challenges among us, but there will also always be beauty and strength within each of us.