By Justin Cates
Today is a dark day for many reasons.
There is of course the obvious sadness emanating from Massachusetts following the bombing near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Today also marks 6 years since the shootings on the campus of Virginia Tech that touched the lives of so many people important to me as well as many I'll never know beyond the intangible bond of belonging to the same community.
It's a day I always spend in reflection. I think about where I was, where I am, and where I might be going. I also invariably think of those who are no longer able to enjoy the latter two states of being.
There are many uplifting thoughts and quotes floating around that serve to console the heavy hearts of those touched by tragedy. I tend to come back to a simple thought I've mentioned before from one of my favorite musicians, Warren Zevon.
Knowing that he was dying, when asked what lesson he would like to impart to those he would soon depart he said simply, "Enjoy every sandwich."
Don't take anything for granted. Savor everything right down to a quick meal as you rush out the door. No one knows when things will come screeching to a halt.
We are sad that this is true, but that's why we have each other.
The flag pictured above was made the night of that shooting six years ago with my roommates and close friends. Through shock and pain it was cathartic and a proud sign of unity and strength in a time when both were sorely needed.
We weep for those lost in these tragedies and we curse those responsible, but we do it together and that's important.
Humanity has the power to cause unthinkable harm to itself, but we also possess the unique ability to band together and move ahead.
No one is immune. From American students of all ages, marathon runners and spectators, or the 31 people killed yesterday in Iraq, the world is all too often engulfed by the worst in humanity. It's easy to be disgusted by it all.
But somehow, wherever the worst happens, the best happens too.
People manage to put their differences aside and do what they can to help others.
We see it in the first responders who always selflessly rush into harms way in the moment. We see it in the aftermath in the kindness of total strangers directed at people they will never meet.
It restores faith, if only for a short while, that we can strive for something more than these senseless acts here at home and around the globe.
We're in this thing together, for good or ill.