April 16, 2013
On Being an Extremophile
Posted by Steph
A lot of bloggers, writers and people in the media are spending today sharing thoughts on yet another tragedy. Yesterday it was the horrific bombings at the Boston Marathon. 4 months ago, it was the horrific shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary. In 2007 it was the Virginia Tech Massacre. In 2001 it was 9/11.
It seems these life-altering events are gaining momentum and coming closer and closer together. On Facebook my newsfeed is filled with posts and articles analyzing the tragedy, rehashing the moments. Writers share their thoughts and opinions on the world we live in, how to approach grief, how to talk to your children about this tragedy.
Or the one before it.
Or the one before that.
There were many conversations yesterday among bloggers and those in social media about how to approach today: Do you post and share as usual? Lay low? How are you going to write about the tragedy?
I have no social commentary on what happened yesterday in Boston.
Not because I'm heartless. Not because I don't care. Maybe it's because I don't have kids old enough to process this with yet, so I haven't come up with a "conversation plan." Or perhaps it's because I don't have a resource guide regarding how to handle tragedies or grief. I can't go around telling others how to think and feel on this because...well....I don't know how I feel about it.
And in the end?
I have nothing left to say.
My voice is one of thousands, and somehow everything I want to say about what happened in Boston - and in Sandy Hook, and in Blacksburg, to the World Trade Centers - seems trite. What do you say to people dealing with everything from the loss of limbs to the loss of lives due to these explosions? How do you make sense of the slaughtering of young, innocent children? How do you begin to understand the kind of mental illness that provokes someone to take another's life? How do you come to terms with not being safe on your home soil?
I'm facing the truth that our world is complicated. And dark. And cruel and evil. That there are people who are complicated and dark and cruel and evil. I mourn over the loss of life. The hatred of others. How long can I watch the news footage looping over gory scenes of blood-covered streets? Of crying children walking in a line away from the nightmare that is their school? Of two tall and formidable towers crumbling to the ground in dust? If I think about it too much, the panic starts to rise and I wonder, "Are we ever safe?" How do I accept that my life goes on while others do not? At the rate things are going, how can we survive this life?
We rise up.
We become extremophiles.
An extremophile "is an organism that thrives in physically or geochemically extreme conditions that are detrimental to most life on Earth." They live in the hottest, coldest, most uninhabitable conditions on the planet. The extreme conditions that are detrimental to most life on earth.
And they rise up.
The winds howl, the waves crash, and the world huffs and and it puffs, but those extremophiles don't fall down. There are small parts of human race that create extreme conditions that are detrimental to most life on Earth. But we are part of a greater population. A race of extremophiles. We face the uninhabitable, the unimaginable, the unthinkable.
And we rise up.
Today, I will focus on being an extremophile.