Clinging to hope during darkest of days

Published 9:56 am Friday, April 19, 2013

“Remember, Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” — Stephen King

I am not a runner. In fact, as someone else has said, “if you see me running, it is usually because I’m being chased.”

But I do have a lot of friends who are runners. They love it and run to make themselves feel better. Many have run in marathons, half marathons or 10K events. It is something I don’t really understand, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect the drive and determination of a runner.

When I was living in Manteo, over the last eight years since its inception, I always waited at the finish line at the Outer Banks Marathon to watch dear friends come across in victory. Held annually in November, the finish line was in downtown Manteo. One year my daughter volunteered for the event as a community service project, handing out medals to runners as they concluded their trek. The event was staffed by thousands of volunteers from those helping at the finish line, to people along the route manning water stations. It is an event the people who live on the OBX look forward to and take great pride in. Just like the folks in Boston.

It was always fun and a celebratory atmosphere, with locals and friends and family of runners cheering everybody on. There was music blasting and people clapping and smiling. The organizers have everything set up from shuttle buses to take you back to your car to food to announcers of winners.

All of these memories flashed through my head Monday as the horrible events in Boston unfolded. I saw the chaos and destruction and the blood and could only imagine what it was like.

Just like watching other tragedies from the shootings at Sandy Hook and Virginia Tech to the bombings in Oklahoma City and the World Trade Center to the day when the Twin Towers fell – it all just leaves you numb.

How do you take it in and not be affected? You don’t. You again question humanity and evil and then pray.

What has bothered me the most about these tragedies is the crazy, circus-like media coverage. In today’s society of instant news, the networks scramble to one-up each other in find that angle to a story that makes them stand out. As a journalist, it disgusts me.

To send your news anchors to a site of such tragedy, just to stand there where it all took place and recap news we’ve already heard makes no sense to me.

When the shootings at Newtown happened, I got so fed up with mainstream media, that I boycotted it all. I turned the news off and went in search of solace in the form of music and books.

Sure, report it if something new is discovered in the case but don’t make the person who did this even more famous and don’t exploit the pain of the victims to such extremes.

I agree that some media coverage occasionally offers hopeful stories of good deeds performed by others and that does help ease the heart, but too often that is not the case.

Maybe the instant news age we live in is partly to blame for why some idiot decides they want their 15 minutes of infamy. I don’t know but it seems like back when we only had three channels of television, no Internet, no cell phones and no around-the-clock news channels, things were simpler. You waited for the morning paper or the evening news with Walter Cronkite to find out what was happening in the world.

Maybe I’m just naive or looking at things through rose-colored glasses. I know bad things happened then too. Maybe it’s because I’m older, but I’m tired of the hate and the evil that seems to abound.

Whatever the case may be, I am angry about this terrorist attack – because that’s what it is. But most of all it is an act of cowardice.

I grieve with Boston, just as I have grieved with Newtown, Blacksburg and New York City – and I pray. And I have to cling to the hope that the good out weighs the bad in this world. As my favorite author J.R.R. Tolkien pointed out in “The Lord of the Rings,” “The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places. But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater.”

LUCY WALLACE is managing editor of The Tidewater News. Her email address is