Is everything all right?

is everything all right

So much has gone wrong over the past few weeks: the Boston Marathon bombings, the ensuing manhunt, the Texas factory explosion, the terrible floods in the American Midwest.

It makes you think.

Natural disasters – floods, tsunamis, storms, earthquakes – are awful, and take a terrible toll. But they’re not intentional. They just happen. The universe doesn’t care very much about human beings (sadly enough), and sometimes we get in the way.

Human disasters, like the Boston bombings, are another thing. They make us think about human folly, and insanity, and how easily our lives can be overturned by a backpack full of black powder and shrapnel.

They make us realize that, though we might feel comfortable in our lives, there’s always an unknown element. An asteroid might hit. A fire might break out. A madman might open fire.

Back in my freshman year of college, I was assigned to read a book by Michael Novak. In it was the following passage (I paraphrase):

 

 

“Your child wakes up in the middle of the night, crying from a bad dream. You come into his bedroom and cradle him, and say: Everything is all right.

 

 

“Are you lying?”

Yes, of course. We’re all lying to ourselves. We’re in peril every moment, and death is just around the corner.

But maybe that’s the silver lining in tragic events like the Boston bombing: they remind us not to be too secure in our daily lives, and to live fully.

Here’s the last line of a classic Latin poem, “Copa,” written maybe by Propertius, maybe by Virgil, maybe by someone else:

Mors aurum vellens, “vivite,” ait, “venio.”

 

 

Death tugs you by the ear. “Live it up,” he says. “Here I come.”


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About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

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