Why do we want to remember only the good, the heroes, the ones who are courageous and loving? Would we remember Jesus if there were not the grand idea of resurrection attached to his name?
I understand the feeling and its vehemence in the wake of such a tragedy. Perhaps if I had a loved one who lost a leg I’d feel the same. But I wasn’t.
In the traumatic transition we call high school I recall my heart aching for the unpopular, the odd balls, the misfits. I tried desperately to fit in so I could shelter any defects, like flat-chestedness or shyness, in some tight-knit clique. I needed a category and a group.
When I was in grade school in NYC there was a girl who moved to NY from Russia. Her name was Olga. She spoke broken English but enough to get along. She wasn’t pretty and wore odd clothes. I was among a group of girls who bullied her. We used to chase her down the sidewalks calling whatever nasty names that came to mind. She ran faster than we did and disappeared around the corner. I remember Olga. I do not remember my bullying companions, not even their names. Strange.
But Dzokhar was “bad”—a murderer, perpetrator of senseless violence. Yet I remember him and his name. Is anyone “bad”? I don’t think so. Everyone has a story and everyone does bad things, even evil things.
I remember the Tsarnaev brothers in part because I know I’m not perfect; in part because probably no one else remembers them (well maybe a parent); in part because one is dead and the other has lost his life whether he gets executed or not; and in part because I think Godde sees into their hearts and God remembers them by name, resurrection-like.
I’m not God or a spiritual hero. I just try to copy along when I can.