Maybe I should stop reading newspapers. Too often, they depress me.
A little girl’s body was found in a garbage bag on a Boston Harbor island earlier this summer. The baby became known as “Baby Doe.” A composite sketch of the little girl went viral as the authorities did everything they could to find out who she was and what happened to her. Last week, the composite picture as well as the picture of an almost three-year old little girl stared at me starkly from the front page of the Boston Globe. “Baby Doe” was identified as Bella Bond. Her mother’s boyfriend was arrested and charged with murder and her mother is under arrest on a charge of accessory to murder. The boyfriend allegedly repeatedly punched the little girl to death, because he said Bella was “possessed by demons.”
Such horrific crimes shake me to the core of my being. They test my faith in a good God. How could ANYBODY hurt a child? For that matter, how could ANYBODY hurt another human being? I have no words, no satisfactory or meaningful explanations. However, we cannot let the unfathomable tragic paint a dark picture of ALL of humanity. The few cannot and must not mitigate the truth that the vast majority of people who walk this great earth are good people who want to do the right thing. We must not let the acts of an evil few degrade the reputation of the many. To prove my point, all we have to do is think of the family of Martin Richard, the 8-year-old boy who was killed in the Boston bombing.
The same week I read about “Baby Doe” in the Globe, I read about an initiative supported by Martin’s family, Hasbro, GenerationOn and Points of Light. It is called “The Martin Richard Bridge Builder Campaign.” The campaign calls upon children and youth, ages 5-18, to carry out Martin’s wish for a more peaceful world by promoting peace and positive change in their schools and communities by “engaging in simple acts of kindness or service projects.” You can read more about it on www.GenerationOn.org.
Sunday in church, I challenged our kids to take up the Campaign’s challenge, but why just our kids???? Why can’t we all commit to putting people at the top of our “to do” list by engaging in simple acts of kindness? Can we join in the spirit of Martin and Martin’s family by “building a bridge” to someone who needs a friendly ear, a warm embrace or a word of encouragement?
We must not allow evil to win or the tragic to defeat us. It is our acts of kindness that need to “go viral,” not news and pictures of murdered innocents. In memory of both Bella Bond and Martin Richard, can we join together and “overcome evil with good?” O God, I hope so!
John E. Holt, Cotuit, Massachusetts