Have you ever wondered why one person helps and another turns away? Although there will never be one answer to this question I do believe the power to choose is within each of us.
This past week I was called during the night to admit a child having trouble breathing due to asthma. She was two years old and was responding well to medication but needed to be hospitalized. After finishing the admission I returned to bed thinking about treatment options and as frequently happens could not fall asleep. I went downstairs for a cup of tea to allow my mind to settle. I usually sit in the dark at the kitchen table for a few minutes and then head upstairs; but something told me to turn on the television. I clicked the remote and the Boston Marathon bombing flashed across the screen. Split screen views and a ticker tape narrative instantly described the insanity of this life-ending event. A finish line forever linked to the carnage of so many by so few.
Yet, watching the screen, I was overcome not by the bombing itself but rather, by the brave responses of so many who chose to act in the face of destruction.
I saw police lines fray but never break as officers turned towards and not away from the blast. As runners stopped, swayed or fell, a wave of responders swept to the billowing smoke. I saw two soldiers tearing away wooden barriers clearing a path to allow rescuers to pass. Volunteers, police and firemen ran to the blast that now shrouded their lives. Medics, doctors and nurses labored to save lives while bystanders and responders cradled those who could not move and guided or carried those who could.
Watching these acts of love I felt pride for each responder who freely chose the care of another over their own safety. I thought about the parents of each responder who chose to act. I realized such actions bounded by giving rather than receiving are the hope of every parent.
Heading up to bed I thought about the power of love which was so visible in this unfinished marathon. As I climbed into bed I realized we are more same than different and no matter what age, occupation or station each of us through our power to choose has the ability to reach out and help another.