Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Running Into the Fire

photo from Getty Images

If you’re like me (and most people) this week, you have been focused on the aftermath of the unthinkable events that took place on Monday during the Boston Marathon that left 176 people injured and took the lives of three others. This serves as an all-too-familiar example of senseless tragedy; one that falls within a day of the anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings, within a week of the anniversary of Columbine, and within months of the shootings in Newtown, CT. These are just a few examples, and unfortunately, regardless of age, we could all list countless others that have happened in our lifetime.

In light of yesterday’s events, I was asked to write this blog for AFLV members and as I thought it about it, the story line became clear: the resiliency of the good always seems to overcome the intention of the bad. For those of you who could bear to watch the video from yesterday, you may have seen the same thing I saw: the countless number of people running INTO the smoke to help others. You may have heard the stories I heard: marathoners running past the finish line directly to the hospital to give blood and others tearing off articles of clothing to use as tourniquets for the wounded. After an attempt to strike paralyzing fear in the hearts and minds of the people, the resiliency of the good seemed to again overcome the intention of the bad.

Is there a connection to the fraternity/sorority experience? Maybe. Maybe there is some connection that can be made, but that seems inconsequential given the gravity of the situation in Boston and certainly that conversation can be reserved for another time and place in the future. Perhaps our focus should be on the connection of people, the connection of humanity. As I referenced above, the one image that will ultimately stick with me from yesterday are the people running in to help those who needed it. What are the situations and who are the people in our lives - in our communities- that need us to “run in”, whether in response to a tragedy or even in our normal daily lives? Will we act in those moments? Are we currently?

For those who know me, you know I have affinity for the TV show The West Wing and while that may seem trivial in this moment, a friend from Boston posted a video on my Facebook timeline Monday night from the episode 20 Hours in America. I share this video and one of its quotes with you today as a tribute of sorts:

“Every time we think we have measured our capacity to meet a challenge, we look up and we’re reminded that that capacity may well be limitless”

This blog is not about fraternity. Yes, fraternity is about helping people and doing the right thing (one great example being the men of the Phi Kappa Theta at MIT), but moreover this blog is about people, and the power of people to overcome and to help others do the same.

Additional recommended blog post: My Heart is in Boston by Steve Good, Founder of Greeks for Good.

Guest blogger: Ryan O'Rourke, AFLV Director of Education & Curriculum Design

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