The only thing any of us could do was stay out of the way and wait.
Even though we exchanged presents and I finished making the Christmas dinner I'd prepped the day before, everything felt tamped down as we went back to the news to see if the police, TBI, and FBI released any more details. It was safe to assume that the majority of us in this big city and environs were safe. Still, a free-floating fear tinged the day. We kept seeing reports of three injuries and hoped that was the extent of the human cost. Still too high, but had this occurred, say, an hour or two before a Titans or Predators game, it could have been so much worse.
By nightfall and throughout the 26th, I found myself unable to shake off feelings of dread. This is not something new. Having worked in inpatient and outpatient clinical psych, I'd been trained to expect the worst and think out what I would do if those grimmest of "ifs" became a reality. That backing track of fear has run through my life since then. What if someone came into my office with bad intentions when I ran a legal outreach NFP? What if someone took exception to the pastor at my mother's UMC church? What if I visited a synagogue and someone decided to plow through the sign asking visitors to call ahead and identify themselves? What if someone did the unthinkable at a clinical facility or the city's arena while I was covering a game? Silly as it may sound, all of these things ran through my mind whenever I was in a crowded place.
I was not there Friday morning. To everyone who has called and texted, even while admitting they figured I was okay, thank you. I am. I have been offering prayers for the first responders and those who lived in the lofts above the street where the explosion took place. My thoughts are with those who expected to get up and celebrate the day only to hear the eerie sound of a recording warning everyone within earshot to evacuate.
Oh, my God, my God. Were are so close to emerging from under an uncontrolled pandemic spread, only to find people want us to live in fear. One theory going around is the person responsible is/was afraid of 5G and wanted to target AT&T, which is a popular tele-carrier around here. As silly as it sounds, I hope they are right. I am anxious for my country, for my state and city to begin to heal. We can't do that well if we're afraid of each other.
By late Friday and well into Saturday, I have to admit not feeling anything but shocked and still fearful of what this might bring. A friend who is in recovery from COVID described having days when he couldn't find the bottom of his lungs. It's probably not nearly the same, but I had that same feeling. I hope it subsides soon.
God bless us all, everyone, and God help us get back to that place of peace.