I Have Angel Potential – and so do You


Boston Marathon Bombing Memorial
Boston Marathon Bombing Memorial (Photo credit: AnubisAbyss)

After remaining glued to the TV and radio this past week, watching and listening to the tragedy and then the victory that was Boston  this week, I can’t being envious of all of the bravery, resolve and selflessness I have witnessed.  Because I am frightened.I felt fear just driving down Post Road in Warwick, RI, seeing a young man standing alone with a backpack at his feet,  and then another hunched over, walking alone carrying another dreaded backpack.  When I think of how close this hit home, of the time I have spent in Boston working, and playing these past thirty-odd years, of the people who I’ve discussed this with on-line or in person who comment that this is so scary.  Julia, Jeremy and I drove by the Watertown Mall en route to a basketball tournament three weeks ago.  And I sit amazed at the selflessness of those Boston Marathon first responders, of the marathon volunteers who didn’t think twice about themselves.   I fear that if tested, I may not display such bravery.   

I am frightened because everyone interviewed this week consistently states that Suspect 2, White Hat, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 19 year old boy that allegedly did this, is “normal.”  A nice guy, the last person you’d imagine.  Captain of the high school wrestling team, volunteer with children with special needs.  The image of the sweet little boy with big brown almond-shaped doe eyes continually on display does not look like the picture of a cowardly mass murderer.   I have  hard time imagining him hiding under a boat tarp and firing back at the FBI.  He had lots of friends, though I’m not sure how many kept in touch with him over the past year or so.  Those that are in shock about his actions don’t seem to have much connection with him as of late.  So something could have happened to him to change him from sweet and normal.  Perhaps it was his big brother, who sounds more likely to not be so “normal,” whatever that means.  But it doesn’t matter.  Should we consider everyone a potential future suspect?  Not just the loners, the angry young men, the radicals?  What causes a “normal” young man to decide to throw explosives out of a car-jacked Mercedes?   What broke him?  Can it break any of us, all of us?

I remember one of my high school English teachers saying that all of us contain the capacity to commit the worst acts of any one human being.  She was referring the atrocities committed by Hitler at the time.  She proposed that if one human could commit such crimes, and we are all human, that we are all contain that potential.  Not that we all would, as it takes more than potential but actual conscious decision.  But we all have it in us.  That frightened me, because it made logical sense.

But instead of looking around at everyone I know, including myself, and wondering when we’re going to break, or decide to become a criminal against humanity, I’m going to focus on the alternative, which also must logically be true:  we are all capable of committing the best that any one person has.  So even though I think of myself as a coward at the moment, I know that the bravery to stand tall is in me.   No matter how shaken any of us are, we have the ability to rise above this, because some of us already have. 

I am so grateful to the heroes among us, for allowing all of us to follow in their footsteps.  It makes me feel better to know that while I am capable of evil, I also am capable of being an angel, if I so decide.

6 thoughts on “I Have Angel Potential – and so do You

  1. Beautifully said Patty. We all have the capacity to commit vile acts, but we will never do so if we focus on love and the joy of being alive knowing that at some point we will all die. Death is feared by so many of us, but if we stop and think about it then death is only the doorway to the angels. Living in fear takes away the purpose of life. Whether we meet our death today or 20 years from now it is coming to us so let’s not fear anything. Let’s live with joy and gratitude. I am so grateful for those who helped the wounded and put themselves on the line unselfishly. I believe the only way forward and into healing for such a tragedy is to express love and gratitude and to live life to the fullest every moment I’m here on Earth.


    1. I couldn’t agree more Laura, though there are times when the fear just seems like it can overpower even the best of us. Now that I am aware of the beautiful quote by Fred Rogers, I have a mantra that can help keep things in perspective.

      *When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me: Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping. ~Mr. Rogers*

      Thank you for the feedback 🙂

      Pat Mitchell


    1. So True Jovina! The bad guys win otherwise I guess. BTW I need to catch up on all of your wonderful posts!! You have been putting some really good stuff out lately – as always – but I’ve been too swamped to comment. I like to read your posts when I have time to focus and relax- they are so informative!

      Take care- Patty M

      Pat Mitchell


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