We Always Win – written in honor of Boston

we always win the smartness

On the afternoon of 9/11, Frank perched on the edge of the couch in his Army fatigues, having been called in to report on base. Burning rubble and replays of explosions were on the screen, but the television isn’t what Frank was watching. At his feet, asleep in their carriers were the twins, just a week shy of three months old.

He couldn’t take his eyes from them. Neither could I.

We didn’t of speak what we were feeling–not in that moment, at least–because in the immediacy of the unfolding tragedy, it wasn’t about us. Later though, in the quiet of the night, the guilt in the space between us was almost palpable between our clasped hands: into what kind of a world did we bring our kids? How could we someday explain this and expect them not to fear waking up and just living? 9/11 was the ice down our spines that chilled us to the crystalline reality that it was impossible to keep them safe from everything. How could I have created them, my babies, when I am powerless to protect them from those who seek to destroy?

Just hours after the Boston Marathon Bombings, I’ve seen similar questions and statements of all-encompassing fear expressed by others across social media. I saw them after Newtown. After senseless tragedies like these, those queries hang like cold, leaden weights and they are heavy in our stomachs and hearts.

Tonight I am weighted by sadness, but I no longer ask such questions. I mourn the losses and grieve the destruction, but what was destroyed is never where the tragedies end, so that can’t be where my feelings end. When things all apart, I seek to find and grasp onto that which was not broken.

Because whatever the points are behind these senseless acts of violence? They never get made. If anything, these “destroyers” lead us to reinforce all that they seek to destroy: kindness, selflessness, and humanity.

They see the cracks and aim their bullets and detonate their bombs in these gaps that separate the differences between us. What they fail to realize, though, is that these cracks are not vulnerabilities; they are the opportunities we take to stretch across the elastic distance. We pull tighter together. If we run, it is into the danger to help others. If we cry, it is because we wish we could do more and not because we could do nothing.

And if we stand up, dust ourselves off, and begin to laugh and live life again, it’s not because we’ve forgotten, have grown apathetic, or because we are foolish enough to think there won’t be a next time.

I don’t question, or feel guilt, or live in fear.

I go to my kids’ soccer games and celebrate even when they lose the championship game.

Because despite the losses, we pull together. And because of that, we always win.

…………………

My thoughts and prayers are with Boston.

16 Comments

  1. StacieT on April 15, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    Love this–it’s so very true. Many hugs.



    • Kymberli Barney on April 15, 2013 at 11:35 pm

      Many hugs back to you, my friend.



  2. Justine on April 15, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    I don’t live in fear, but I do question. Because I keep hoping that human nature is better than that. Then again, maybe what you’re saying is that it *is*.

    My friend, who lives near Newtown and knows many of those families and their children, has taken to saying this: “love WINS.”

    Yes, it does. Every time.

    Thanks for this.



    • Kymberli Barney on April 15, 2013 at 11:34 pm

      “Love wins.” Exactly this. xoxo



  3. Colleen @The Family Pants on April 15, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    You so eloquently said so many of the things that were in my heart tonight but I had no words for. Thank you. This is an amazing post.



    • Kymberli Barney on April 15, 2013 at 11:34 pm

      It’s hard to tame words about things like this into something that makes sense outside of our own hearts. Sometimes, I am left speechless, too. <3



  4. Lovelyn on April 15, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    Well said.



  5. Kathy on April 15, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    Yes, well said my friend.

    Thank you. <3



  6. Jenn on April 16, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Beautiful. I am about to board a plane to a industry trade show. I expected to be excited for a few days of sleeping in and getting ready sans kids. Not hearing my hubs ask if I think this trade show could draw a big enough crowd to also be a target. It is a scary world today…but I’m still getting on the plane.



  7. Becky on April 16, 2013 at 8:38 am

    As I was talking to the kids last night about what happened, they seemed a bit sad but not overly troubled by the day’s events. Before I could even ask the question of them, Nick said, “Mom, you have to remember that practically since the day I was born, and every year since then, there have been horrible things happening in the world like this. It doesn’t make them any less sad, but this is our reality as kids these days.” You have no idea how much that broke my heart because the reality is that he’s right.

    I hugged them tighter, played with them longer, let them stay up later, and let them know how much good there is in the world despite these horrible events.



  8. julie gardner on April 16, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Despite the silly bickering or angry fighting on social media, we suddenly come together during an event like this. People who – ordinarily – disagree (even vehemently) about major issues find themselves clinging to each other, hugging, crying, resolved to not let the bad guys beat us.

    Those who would seek attention through violence simply make the rest of us stronger, determined, aware of our shared feelings instead of our differences.

    So yes, you are exactly right.
    With love in our hearts, we always win.



  9. a on April 16, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    It’s pretty amazing to watch the outpouring of humanity that immediately follows a tragedy. It’s somewhat disheartening to listen to the ridiculous crap that follows soon after regarding how to fix the problem. But holding on to the image of people’s innate wish to improve things helps…



  10. Catwoman73 on April 17, 2013 at 9:39 am

    Very well said. I couldn’t agree more. My thoughts were similar, but no where nearly as eloquently written. We will always remain hopeful and loving, no matter what horrific violence we encounter… and that is the most beautiful thing about being human.



  11. […] that most people want to do good, and Kymberli says that those who wanted to destroy actually reinforce our kindness and selflessness. Brian from Running Renaissance reminds us that Bostonians and runners support each other and will […]



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