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Posted on Apr 21, 2013

Why The Boston Marathon Tragedy Was A Wonderful Thing- Four Raw Truths You Won’t Like

Why The Boston Marathon Tragedy Was A Wonderful Thing- Four Raw Truths You Won’t Like

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Image by Bill Greene/The Boston Globe

Yes, this is a travel blog about a spiritual person and her family, but it’s also a forum in which a spiritual person who happens to be traveling shares her raw truths, even when they make her madly unpopular. So, if you can’t handle that, you may leave now. I will not be offended, and will continue to say what I’m about to. Deal, or don’t. It makes no difference to me. I’m staying.

The tiny/huge part we’ll agree on:

I think, clearly, that the Boston Marathon Tragedy is painful, and hard to accept. Why would someone do that? It’s not even making some statement anti-Muslim, Jews, Blacks, or at the foot of some Pro-Life clinic. It’s totally random. In fact, it’s more than just random. It’s an attack on people, investing in their health, making their dreams come true, pushing themselves to physical and mental challenges far beyond mediocracy. It’s a group of people out there making the most of their lives and running way passed their comfort level. So, that’s the part we would all agree on.

Here’s what we won’t agree on.

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Our travel in USA where our journey begun

1- It’s A Minor Tragedy

I’m in Malaysia in the BackHome Hostel struggling to exchange a few coherent words with the Japanese Badminton champion training here. I spent my morning doing the six’s of the multiplication table with my only male offspring, who is surprisingly enthusiastic about it. I got wind of this on Facebook and told Kobi that something awful had happened at the Boston Marathon. I envisioned that starting line with thousands of people sardined into a bomber’s wet dream of population density. Kobi googled and informed, at that time, of 3 deaths and 140 injuries. My reaction, “Thank God!”

I’m from Israel people. I’m used to hearing of kindergarten classes blown up, buses packed with people burning to death, and, OK, I’m exaggerating and I haven’t watched the news for years, but come on friends. There are thousands of people dying all over the world every day from starvation, earthquakes, and unsanitary health conditions. Three people die in Boston and the world is coming to an end. I’m not saying it’s not scary, but let us take a step back and realize “Thank God!” that a very small number of innocent people were actually harmed.

 2- Tragedy Invites Human Kindness

  • Do you how many people ran to the bomb scene?
  • Do you know how many people opened up their homes and businesses?
  • Do you how many random people walked the streets of Boston that day asking other random people if they needed a place to stay?
  • Did you know that Google created a public stay-at-our-house spreadsheet and a person finder?
  • Do you know how much unreal human kindness and cohesion comes out of this and any other global ‘tragedy’

So, as a people who are often scared to allow strangers near us, let alone into our homes, the Boston Marathon Tragedy suddenly tore down those doors of ego and fear, and flung them wide-open with love. Tragedy here, and around the world, invites people to show their fullest light to those who can never repay with, with no hidden agenda other than to help another soul in need.  In the Lebanese War, total strangers in a doctor’s clinic gave me the keys to their new house so that my family and I could stay in comfort during the bombings up North. We walked into a full-stocked house with bundles of cash thrown about here and there, as if they were returning from the next room any minute. I repeat. I was a total stranger. We lived in that house, while they were overseas, until the war was done. That brings my goosebumps goosebumps. That invitation to be our most loving selves is pretty damn cool in my eyes.

3- Death Invites Beautiful Voids

I know you’ll most likely hate me from now on, but if you’ve read this far, hear me out. I am the young mother of three young children and if I were to die tomorrow, conventional Western mentality would construe that as a tragedy. My family would do. I would not.

When I die, and when the people who died in the Boston Marathon or the Holocaust or the Khmer Rouge or some grandmother dies tomorrow, all of us create a void when we are gone. In that void, when I am not here, my children and husband will compensate in creative ways. Maybe my kids will hold onto each other in ways that they never would have before, maybe the even-more (if that’s possible) maternal instincts of Kobi will come out and he’ll give them what he hadn’t before to compensate. Maybe my death will make my family stop traveling, and great new things will happen because of it. Maybe because of my death, Kobi or my kids in the future, will pick a great partner that will bring them joy they could have never imagined.

The deaths of those people will create beautiful voids. I’m not saying let’s do the happy dance about Hiroshima, the Holocaust, the nuclear radiations in Japan and other large and small tragic events on this planet. But what I am saying comes from Buddhism. Buddhism teaches us that nothing is good or bad, it’s all either painful, pleasurable, or neutral. This is painful.  The deaths and injuries from the Boston Marathon Tragedy are not bad. They are painful.

4- It’s a Time To Celebrate With Another Sexy Future

“Oh God, Gabi, tell me you are not celebrating. You just said above ‘no happy dance.’ This is just beyond disrespectful and wrong.”

Hold on. Listen.

Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin brought to the world Your Money Of Your Life, which radically changed for millions of people their relationship with money.  It was one of the prerequisites for us allowing ourselves to dream of world travel and heavily influenced our best-selling ebook Saving For A Dream. One of the greatest lessons of this book is that the most precious and limited thing you have is your ‘life energy’. You do not know how long you have to live, so you should look carefully if you are spending your limited life energy doing that which you are passionate about.

Most of us, only when facing a life-threatening disease, rise to the occasion of our lives. Most us live when death rubs too close, and that is total waste of good life energy, friends. I take the Boston Marathon Tragedy as an invitation to a- send light and love and b- to create my next sexy future with Kobi. Our next plans, are this biking through Europe idea.

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When we were still back there at Pillows and Toast Hostel in Singapore, we began to talk about and starting to comprehend what a year biking with our kids would taste like, and how much of it will be whining and how much of it will be enjoying. We’re right before the logistical stages of looking into flight tickets obtainable on fly.co.uk, figuring out how to get good but cheap bikes, and practicing scripts that will be more likely to convince our kids that this will be better than returning home to Israel.  But, first, we still need to get everything in line for our September Annapurna Circuit Hike and Volunteer Mission, and all that has to be laid out for Country Number 12 in 6 weeks.

Oh, have you seen Country Number 11 yet? It’s so worth it.

Conclusions

So, we’ll take this tragedy as an opportunity to be thankful. Thankful for the cuddling, the time with our kids, the unreal heart-to-heart talks that take place almost every day around here. Thankful for the kindness people showed and the invitation to live in the here and now, and to take active steps towards the next passionate dream we have. We send our love to all who need it right now, in Boston and throughout the globe.

If I’ve upset you, I’m sorry. That was not my intention. I would be honored to hear your thoughts and feelings. Do note that I no longer accept bullies and explosive feedback so if I feel your comment is rude in any way, it won’t be published. I will continue to share my naked truths to those you want to be a part of respectful, loving discussion. You may disagree with me, but do so with grace, or don’t bother. 🙂

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saving-for-a-dream,  The Nomadic Family World Travel Blog, life on the road, long-term family travel, rtw adventure travel, digital nomads, budget world travel with kids, vagabond families, 2012 best travel blog award, backpack south east asia We’re determined to inspire others to lead the lives they are meant to. The Saving For A Dream e-book is your first step towards making that dream come true. It is also a kind, generous donation from you to help us continue our voyage.

So, buy it for yourself or a friend. Thank you,

Kobi, Gabi, Solai, Orazi and Dahnya Klaf

 

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Comments

comments

35 Comments

  1. I haven been following your blog for quite some time, and am always so impressed with your unabashed honesty. I knew we were like minded on this issue right at #1. How did three people make worldwide news, while the 12 that died in Pakistan was never discussed? I had the same reaction as you, “Thank God!” Because it could have been so much worse.

    On a side note, we are in the baby step planning stage of our permanent travel. Hope we cross paths out in the world.

    • wow celestte. what an honor and a joy to get your message. thank you for writing. it does my soul so good to know that people read what i put out there and that my honesty attracts like-minded souls. thank you. yeah, it did make a lot of news. ATTACK ON AMERICA! since i first published it, i’ve added a few more lines expressing what i imagined (packed starting line) and how someone was kind to us during wartime. i can’t believe you are going to go too. please ask me any questions that may help. from those, i write my posts and my ebooks. thank you for commenting. ‘thank god’ we’re all ok. 🙂

  2. Gabi – I live in Connecticut about 90 minutes from Boston and although I have been scared for the people of Boston this past week I have also been deeply, deeply moved by the grace that has been shown by literally thousands of people. I completely agree with everything you’ve said. In fact, a lot of it I was thinking but didn’t know how to put it into words. Thank you, friend. You clarified my thoughts for me in a way I couldn’t have never having been in a place like Israel where violence such as this is, sadly, not uncommon. Hugs!!

    • erin. love. thank you. i’m so so so deeply happy that my words resonated with what your soul was trying to piece together. so very glad. and also, so grateful that this post brought you back into the neighborhood. i have missed your thoughts. thank you for putting this on your site. i’ve read it and commented. i am so very grateful. gabi

  3. I loved this article. I also hope the Boston bombing brings more to light the children and families the US are killing everyday in Afghanistan and other places. I put a cartoon to this effect up on my Facebook Wall, and had a reader email me saying that I was losing my focus, and should only write about travel. I told her that I wanted to write about things that would hopefully change the world a little more than pretty pictures of beaches.

    • “I told her that I wanted to write about things that would hopefully change the world a little more than pretty pictures of beaches.” thank you for that. the world is not just pretty beach pictures even though you are a goddess at taking them. yes the world is much more and we are more than just shooting postcard shots, we’re living and breathing, growing, finding ourselves,and getting very lost in the world and it’s people and all that happens to them, and us. i appreciate you supporting this kind of thing val. thank you.

  4. Good for you for being willing to say how you are really feeling about tragedy. It’s way too easy to tiptoe around such issues because we are all “trained” to be polite and it can seem insensitive to say that we can find good in things that don’t look good on the outside. Still, unless we do we continue to honor sadness and victimhood over courage and a refusal to be dragged down by pessimism. I find the Buddhist perspective on this issue to be helpful and wrote about it following the school shooting a while back… here it is for anyone who is interested… http://smartliving365.com/beyond-suffering-what-the-buddha-teaches-about-tragedy/ I also agree that how we face such events is a tribute or a denial of our spiritual beliefs–whatever they might be… But most of all, as you say, it is a reminder to so very grateful for the gift of life in the first place and the chance to spend even one more day surrounded by those you love…. ~Kathy

    • kathy, i have been to your post and have commented. i do not thank you for putting the link in the comment for i’ve been on your blog for so long now instead of doing my ‘to do’ list. your writing is so nice to read. what a joy to find such inspiration. thank you. i don’t tiptoe anymore kathy, i actually crash into furniture while doing my infamous lop-sided somersault that usually ends up pulling something in my back. i do honor the place for sadness too and i know it has it’s very good and solid place. i also bow to that sadness and thank it for bringing me to whatever place i’m meant to go to, even it sometimes it hurts beyond what you think your tolerance is… http://gabiklaf.com/unhealthy-desires-my-addiction-part-one/

      (the entire series is really heavy, i just sent you number one. good place to start). yes, being grateful for the gifts cuz that’s all we have right? whatever gifts we have now, and now, and now.

  5. Gabi, I found your title misleading. To call the Boston Marathon tradgedy a wonderful thing caused some confusion. I wondered how you could say such a thing. Then I read the article and I agree with many of the points. It IS a minor tragedy compared with terrible things going on in the world, tragedy DOES invite human kindness, death (sometimes) creates beautiful voids, and the future IS bright. However, what happened is Boston is not wonderful… it’s just not as hopeless as the media make out. I myself was thinking about commenting on such a thing, but I have no idea what to say. Many worse things go on in the world but it doesn’t make this OK. My thoughts go to the relevant people in Boston, but also to all of the other people in the world who are suffering more. As for Buddhism, I know almost nothing (except for a couple of days in a Korean temple) but I like it. I’ll take some time to learn more.

  6. I can’t disagree with you – and I’m from Boston.

    I could have done without the “shocking” title. If I would have said, “Why the bombings in Israel are wonderful”, how would that come across? But your points are very valid and I agree with you! We all must realize that stuff happens everywhere, everyday. We must get out of the bubble.

    No offense taken here, I totally get it! Great article, and I too am glad to see so many people stepping up. Here’s hoping for some sustainability of the aftermath.

    I am curious how beautiful that “void” would be if it was one of your children. It is one thing to imagine the world with out us, but our kids? That is a tough sort of beauty to embrace. Just a thought. What do you think??

    • Justin,

      How I waited for this day, the day, the thought, that idea that one day we will debate online in my comments section an issue more relevant that those teenage girls selling their bodies to the grandfathers and how ‘happy’ (or not) they looked that night in bangkok dancing in the club. ( For reference for those wanting to follow that amazing discussion, http://thenomadicfamily.com/2012/06/grandfather-and-teens-havings-sex-bangkok-thailand/)

      I think the bubble is crazy. ATTACK ON AMERICA. are we really that important that three lives become world breaking news? Yes, saying bombings in Israel (or ‘the Holocaust’ as one reader who sent me a private message said) are wonderful are tough. I know but a- sad truth that only posts with these titles get the reads and discussions that come out of challenging my readers with a bit of shock therapy. notice your personal record of reading my site. You last documented visit was “Teens and Grandfathers Having Sex” and you would die from the amazing commentary and unreal discussions that came from previous silent voices in http://thenomadicfamily.com/2013/01/i-hate-missionaries-and-other-interesting-conclusions-about-sexuality-nomadic-family-world-travel-blog-budget-travel-with-kids/

      If I were to shock every title, I think that is abusive, but once in a while, I’d like to get real discussion and my real truth out on issues that I think are worth grappling over.

      As for the beauty of the void, so I assume that you and I are agreeing that our deaths would create voids that we can see as positive eventually. Like the Alchemist said, ‘maktub’ there is beauty in the tapestry woven for us to follow, even if we cannot see that from within the twists and turns of that intricate patterns. Child’s death [hard, deep swallow] is a lot harder for us to handle. The personal pain there, Justin, I would agree is unimaginable, and yes, still, I do believe that each of us is on this earth during this round for as long as we have what to teach others and what to learn, and from that, i personally believe that when children die, like Harold Kushner said in When Bad Things Happen To Good People, there are gifts there we cannot yet get, but they are there all the same. And somehow Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning and the movies Life Is Beautiful (Holocaust) and Pay It Foward (where the child dies) all come shooting out at me right now, in an incoherent dance that I cannot yet express, but I do know means that I still know, for me and me alone, that death is also freedom, continuation, gives us more meaning because of the uncertain finality of life, and yes, those who died have left their spark, inspiration, something behind that will create something else that would have been born had they not died. Yes, even in children.

      Would love to hear your reply Justin. 🙂 Thank you . gabi

      • That point, number three; I think on a personal level it is not true. But on a global scale, it is. Look how many people have risen and been used as icons by their deaths. Without them dying, they would have done far less in the world. When someone dies, we raise them up and extract all the goodness from them and suppose that more goodness would have come. However, if it was someone I loved, really loved, I do not know how I would get over it. This fear haunts me. Like all bad things, ‘it’s OK when it happens to someone else.’

        • Jamie, i agree with you. I’ve faced a death, not a physical one of someone i loved but none the less painful, and it literally smashed me, left me wishing some days that i would die to maybe, just momentarily numb the pain. (the entire series of me crying into the video camera conveniently brought for your viewing pleasure here: http://gabiklaf.com/unhealthy-desires-my-addiction-part-one/ it is so nice and neat when it happens to someone else, and yet, still, if you look back, without the over-glamorization of someone’s holiness only reveled by death, still, if you can step back in some sort of a healthy way (big IF I grant you), then wonderful things fill those voids. wonderful things. i have the same fears jamie. if something were to happen to my Kobi or my kids, i do not know how i could go on, but, guess what, i would, somehow, and eventually, that void would bring me blessings, i have no doubt, no doubt. i believe i have helped too many clients finally let go to lost children or others who died. i’ve seen what happens, every time, when we do the healing and how the blessings are always there, if, like justin said, we can let them in. i want to hear your thoughts. i loooooove having these discussions with you jamie. love it. thank you. gabi

      • OK . . . I will give you the title. The pervert grandpa one didn’t bother me, but this one did. You attack my pathetic record as a reader, and I am forced to agree.

        I also concede on the “void”. I agree. Good comes out of the bad if we let it.

        I eagerly await the next debate!

        Well Done!

  7. Well…well, I appreciate your honesty, Gabi. No one could ever say you’re anything less than open and honest, and that’s a rare thing in this world. While the content of your post is apologetic yet forthright, and you make very good points (around190 people were killed in that Chinese earthquake for example) I do question the title of your post. It’s not like you to be misleading or to try to create anger in others. The title — why did you do that? It just isn’t like the actual post, and I don’t understand. Thanks!

    • I love and appreciate your honest probing for justification. Thank you. Very, very much. I think your point regarding the title is such a fine one and I’ve answered it, in a mini-novel under the comment to Justin. I wouldn’t try to better explain my choice in title, so please refer to Justin’s comment, or my reply to it, and please, please tell me what you think. It is very important for me to retain my readers’ trust and I do hope my explanation helps clarify that. I’m waiting for your thoughts Jen. Thank you so much.

  8. I’m a runner, and running in Boston has always been in my bucket list. So I’m among those who were shocked about what happened. However, I also recognized that it paled compared to what the US is doing in other countries in the name of policy, where hundreds of innocent women and children die from aerial bombing. I don’t think what happened in Boston is wonderful, but put in perspective, yeah, it shouldn’t be seen as the end of the world.

    • Aleah, thank you so much for being in this discussion. I’m a runner too (somehow I knew that about you. It must be in your ‘about me’ section somewhere or maybe you responded to my article about running and almost being raped? http://gabiklaf.com/i-was-almost-raped-tonight-running-alone-at-the-beach/ Either way, thank you. I think we all have to reassess our ‘end of the world’ mentality. I wrote in depth regarding my choice of title. I do hope you read the comment I wrote under Justin’s response to hear the entire story, and I’d love to hear your thoughts back. Thank you dear Aleah. Gabi

  9. Good on you, Gabi. I’ve been struggling with words to write something similar to this, but you’ve nailed it on the head. I’m from Boston (though I’m overseas in China right now) and I agree with your every point.

    Well said.

    • Thank you Jeremy. It’s a been a long, long time since we’ve talked. Last time I think you were ‘in the hospital’ and being paid for it, if I recall. And so, I’m so glad you feel that way. It’s an honesty that offends some and I’m glad you feel I got it right. Thank you for sharing this on twitter. I saw that just now and appreciate it greatly. Where are you these days? Gabi

  10. I see your points, Gabi, and I agree with them–but I do agree with Jen Miner-the title is very off-putting and not really what your post is about. There are so many idiots out there who never bother to dig deeper for the true facts that you are inviting criticism without someone actually reading the post.

    • Larissa, Thank you for taking the time to comment and be a part this unreal space where real people with souls full of love and thought and compassion write and think and tackle the world, one little step at a time. I appreciate what you wrote so fully Larissa. And I’ve answered it, in a mini-novel under the comment to Justin. I wouldn’t try to better explain my choice in title, so please refer to Justin’s comment, or my reply to it, and please, please tell me what you think.I’d add to what I wrote to Justin, Anne Frank, in that song too. 🙂 Gabi

  11. tragedy DOES invite human kindness – i am always amazed (and happy) when i see it.

  12. I had a similar reaction, Gabi. I was horrified and nervous for the dozens of friends and family I have in Beantown, but thankful that the consequences weren’t more tragic. As an American living abroad, I find that these moments are ones in which I am attacked for country policies that have little to do with me, or mistakes that my country has made (a 13-year-old student of mine asked me why we went to Vietnam two weeks ago!). Tragedies like this do open the door for human dialogue, for people to reexamine their values, though it shouldn’t wait (which I’m sure you’d agree with). I remember the outpouring after Sept 11th and the Newton Massacres, and gently reminding people that these things happen around the world daily.

    • Cat. yes, I imagined the worst and was so relieved when it was so minor after all. We have an amazing discussion of these issues under Justin’s comment below. Should you have more thoughts to share, I’d love love love to hear it. Thank you Cat. A great big hug to you, Gabi

  13. You “wowed” me… U always do!!!! ;). Much love 2 u! Vanessa

    • oh. you are too sweet. can i keep you forever? thank you.

  14. I had a similar thought about places, like Israel, that have all too often have been riddled with bombings. All four points are well written.
    I just recently lost my Dad. The first thing I did creatively was the two sandwich bags for my boys the morning after he passed. Writing about the bags on Flickr and then sharing with my kids was tremendous.
    This is the only post I’ve read (so far) and it just made sense. Thanks for connecting with me through YouTube as I would not come across this so soon. I look forward to exploring The Nomadic Family.

    • HI DAvid! what a joy and honor and pleasure to have you here. i can’t believe i reached out to you because of your amazingly sweet story, and here you are reading my long-winded thoughts. you know the media does a great job making israel this terrifying war-torn hell. and i feel bad that i made reference that maybe feeds into that but we were more terrified in those 5 minutes when we lost our toddler in walmart in the states than i’ve ever, ever felt in israel, even during the lebanese war. israel and most of the world is just so safe, it’s all how much we allow the media’s fear-loving news to seep in. i’m so sorry about the loss of your father. i’m so goosebumped overjoyed that you found a way to express that/share that with your boys. so very important and precious and right. i can’t believe this is your only post. so much more to read friend. i deeply look forward to more comments as you continue to explore our little nomadic world and all the ups and downs and neurotic things that come out of it. i still want to interview by the way. two is better than one, even though you one you shared with me is amazing! gabi

  15. As part of a family who have recently moved back overseas (we’re in the Maldives!) and who dreams of one day being less expat and more nomadic, I love having stumbled over your blog. I also really appreciate you dipping your toes into political hot potatoes like this one. Completely agree that we need to keep a global perspective about Boston. There are some crazy articles – in particular about the suspects – going around right now!

    • meryl. welcome to our neurotic, sweaty, dusty, beautiful life on the road world. so glad you stumbled upon us too and would die to know how. i love finding out how our paths cross. wow, more nomad, less expat. i love it. would love to share the mobile mouse with others, with your permission of course! i usually don’t dip into politics. i usually avoid it like the plague. you’ll see here: http://www.greatbigscaryworld.com/why-dont-you-get-a-real-job-and-stop-abusing-those-kids/ but every once in a while i can’t stop myself. would love to see what else you read and your thoughts. hoping our travels helps take you one step closer to nomadic. join us on fb too, will you? hugs to you, gabi

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