I'm reeling. The Boston bombings from April 15th's Boston Marathon have hit hard. Living and working in Boston makes it feel like déjà vu: it was nearly 12 years ago when I lived and worked in New York City and witnessed the events on September 11th, 2001. Although these events are scary for anyone, they seem even more so when they happen right in your backyard.
The bombings caused a whole host of memories to come flooding back and I found myself reliving the confusion, the concern, the sadness, and of course, the fear, all over again. Yet, this time they took on a whole new level of meaning and significance: I'm 37 weeks pregnant.
Twelve years ago, as a single woman in her late 20s, my mind jumped to my parents', my friends', and of course, my own safety. But today, only three weeks away from my due date, it is difficult not to ask: What will this mean for my child? What will this mean for the future of my family? Is it irresponsible to bring a precious, innocent life into the chaos and craziness of the world today? What if my child, one day, has the terrible fate of Martin Richard, the eight-year old boy who lost his life during yesterday's bombings?
I'm sure these questions run through the minds of other new moms-to-be. How could they not? The world continues to get scarier with so many questions unanswered. How can any parent not feel the fear that stems from all we've been experiencing in the last several years? So much sadness, random acts of terror and inexplicable violence. Doesn't it seem that bringing new life into this world is irrational?
As I ponder these questions, however, I constantly remind myself of this very simple and important principle: You can either live out of fear, running away from experiences, missing out on life's wonders, or you can live bravely, running towards all that life has to offer, allowing yourself to experience joy, love, and happiness, and other amazing things.
Fear is debilitating. It keeps us from living life. It keeps us from doing new things. It keeps us from taking risks. It keeps us from enjoying new experiences. And it keeps us stagnant, never moving forward with our goals and our hopes for the future.
Life is filled with unknowns. But fear negates our ability to see and experience all of the wondrous unknowns that are good. In truth, for every bad experience there are likely hundreds, if not thousands of good ones.
If you feel doubtful, scared or fearful, try to remind yourself of the times you pushed fear aside and came out on the other end better for it. Remind yourself of the the thrill and the excitement that came with taking the risk. Relive the happiness and the joy you experienced. That is living. That is why we are here. That is what life is about and why we get up every morning.
Over the next few weeks, as I wait for our impending arrival, I will continue to remind myself of these important truths and hold onto the idea that life is good. I will continue to dream about the future of our family. I will continue to relish in the joy to come. And as hard as it may be at this time, I ask you to join me.
It is the positive spirit that makes life meaningful and good. Don't let anyone or anything rob you of that simple pleasure.