In her first Sunday sermon after the Marathon bombings, the Rev. Liz Walker stood in her pulpit at Roxbury Presbyterian Church and surveyed her small congregation. It was nothing like the enormous crowd she had addressed a few days before at the Interfaith Prayer Service at Cathedral of the Holy Cross, with President and Michelle Obama in attendance.
“I knew that what was wanted was comfort and words to foster healing and dealing with grief,” Walker says. “But I wanted them to get something else out of the message too — a realization and acceptance of the fact that part of the healing process may be learning to live with fear.”
Walker’s advice on living with fear may seem like swimming against the steady tide of messages of coping and moving on. Just about every year since 2000, she’s split her time between Boston and Sudan (including the barely two-year-old Republic of South Sudan), working with refugees of religious wars, orphans, and repatriated kidnapping victims. Now five years removed from her days as Boston’s most prominent newscaster, Walker says she’s learned that the way people deal with terror in many communities outside the United States is to fight it and brace for it at the same time.
“What happens, inevitably is the combination helps you learn to carry on your lives — I think faster and in a more stable way,” she says.
That view, she said, “is to accept that the act of terror perpetrated on us could happen again.”
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