The past couple days, I’ve been more aware of what I’ve missed about Facebook. As I wrote earlier, two Boston firefighters passed away earlier this week while fighting a fire not far from my dorm. The past few days, I’ve wondered what the outpouring of support must look like on Facebook. Every time a tragedy happens, I’ve taken some comfort in seeing other people’s thoughts and feelings towards the events unfolding, even if it’s from a virtual distance.
However, being off of Facebook has challenged me to find new ways to seek out what I feel I’m missing out on. Last night, after listening to a very moving homily from our pastor, who has been spending time with the families of the firefighters, I remembered that the firehouse was only a couple blocks away from the church, which contributed to our pastor knowing the firefighters in that firehouse so well.
After Mass had ended, in the drizzling rain, I went to the firehouse and looked at all the flowers and written letters of support left by fellow Bostonians. It was a very moving sight, as you could tell some of the gifts left were from families whose members are firefighters, too. Being in that space helped me to feel some of the solidarity I was looking for, after the event, while giving me a place to be in the sanctity that is the outpouring of support during a tough time.
After peering at the flowers and cards, I looked up and could clearly see into the firehouse windows. Inside, there stood about 30 men, standing around, talking, smiling, and just being together. I don’t normally see so many firefighters on duty, so I imagined that they simply wanted to be there, with their fellow coworkers, just to be together during this time. It was a good image to end my time of prayer and silence on, and I headed back to my dorm feeling peaceful.