I've never been a person to identify with a specific place. That's probably because I've moved about quite a bit in my life. From Boston to the South Shore to Worcester to Ohio to Boulder, Colorado and then back to the South Shore. But even beyond that, I've never felt tied to the land the way, say, farmers are.
But the fact is I spent the first 11 years of my life growing up in the Boston neighborhood of Mattapan. That's where my grandparents bought the only home they ever own. That's where my father grew up. And that's where my brothers and I lived for a while.
It is this connection that has come to fore so suddenly this week because of the bombs in Boston. I don't claim to be a Bostonian, but I don't think you have to be to love the city or see the people responsible for these cowardly acts brought to justice.
This week has been a tough one. I relive the World Trade Center attacks and the events in Oklahoma City in 1995. I keep thinking about how mad the world has become and yet in the face of that madness, we've seen the courage and all that is best in people as they help the victims hurt by the bombs. This more than anything makes me proud to be from this part of the world because this is how people should act toward each other all the time.
But for these events to be something more than just random acts of violence, they need to cause change. But I don't think that will happen. When the dust settles, I'm fairly sure we will go back to the way we were before April 15. Some will spin the events for political reasons to either promote or reject some agenda. Others will honestly try to learn something from the events and suggest changes so that bombs will never again mar the Marathon.
But we need to change the human heart and that is a hard thing to morph. We need to release old hatreds and bias and embrace tolerance and understanding of others. We need to love our neighbors the way we love ourselves. That's an old struggle I know. I only hope that these events take us one step closer to realizing that goal.