St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Reflections on the Boston Marathon Bombing

Rebecca S., one of our eighth grade parishioners, offers us the following essay. For her eighth grade Language Arts class, she was assigned an essay to reflect on how the events surrounding the Boston Marathon Bombing has had an impact on her.

April 2013

Dear Dhokhar Tsarnaev,

On Average the passenger of a car has 2.83 life changing revelations per car ride. I know what you're thinking, how does this have to do with you? Well, you were one of my 2.83 revelations. Well, directly related to one of them at least. I was thinking about forgiveness.

The dictionary defines forgiveness as "the action or process of stopping feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake." Forgiveness is a strange thing. It gives you some sense of imagined power, or superiority over a person. As children we asked ridiculous tasks of each other so to "gain our forgiveness". We liked having a sense of superiority over someone, even if it was only for a short time.

In your case people will, and have, decided that you are not worth their thoughts, or forgiveness. These people don't see themselves as bad; not because they're perfect people, but because they haven't bombed a city. This thought is wrong. Is it not wrong for a man to kill someone, just because someone else has killed two people? No, of course it's still wrong. Doing something immoral will still be bad, even if compared to what someone else has done, it seems like nothing.

Someone once said, "Don't judge someone just because they sin differently than you." This means forgiving someone, even when it's not your place to judge. By judging someone you don't define him or her, you define yourself. People can be angry or sad, or feel what they would like, but in the end we are all equal. Not one person, man or woman, adult, or child is a better person than you. A person's ability to forgive, withhold judgement, and how they view people says a lot about them.

So this is what I will leave you with, this is the thinking that changed how I see the world. I understand that I am not a better person than you in any way. The world as we see it was created by our thoughts. This means that by changing our thinking we can change how we see the world. At the end of the day there are no superior people, we are all human. By understanding this, and forgiving it won' t change the past, it won't undo what happened, but it can change the future. I forgive you.