Changed Forever


I took this picture late last week while stuck in traffic.   In all the years I’ve worked for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this was the first time I had taken this particularly ill-advised route, in a fruitless attempt to outmaneuver the masses.

The smell of idling engines, the sounds of irate honking and shouting at those who cut into a turning lane or dare to dally at the yellow cusp of a red light, the setting sun hitting the John Hancock,  the thuh-thunk of depleted tires hitting potholes. . . . Ah, Boston, you’re my home. . . .

I was born at Mt. Auburn hospital, just off this river.  I thought how little had changed since I grew up.

A somewhat reformed Boston driver, given the years of my supremely calm husband’s tutelage, I relaxed while stopped behind testy drivers at a red light.

I cranked up WBUR, rolled down the window, and clicked a few photographs of the Charles River and the backdrop of landmarks very close to where Jim and I lived (just off Charles Street) when we married.  We were both graduate students at the time.

If you look closely atop the buildings on the right side of the photograph you can see the Lenox Hotel’s diagonally-placed red sign.

Yesterday. . . .can it really be just yesterday?. . . such pictures changed forever.  Around the clock, local news stations broadcast video and photographs of bombs exploding at street level close to the Lenox, killing and maiming innocents as they watched the Boston Marathon on Patriot’s Day.

It is nearly impossible to gather my thoughts yet, but I want to share part of Jan Richardson’s Blessing in the Chaos:


Let there be
a calming
of the clamoring,
a stilling
of the voices that
have laid their claim
on you,
that have made their
home in you,

that go with you
even to the
holy places
but will not
let you rest,
will not let you
hear your life
with wholeness
or feel the grace
that fashioned you.

Let what distracts you
Let what divides you
Let there come an end
to what diminishes
and demeans,
and let depart
all that keeps you
in its cage.

Let there be
an opening
into the quiet
that lies beneath
the chaos,
where you find
the peace
you did not think
and see what shimmers
within the storm.

Our hearts break for the suffering.


About Stephanie

In her spare time, Stephanie works full-time, and then some, as an attorney. She has published articles and delivered talks in arcane fields like forensic evidentiary issues, jury instructions, and expert scientific witness preparation. She also is an adjunct professor at a law school on the banks of the Charles and loves that dirty water, as she will always think of Boston as her home. You are welcome to take a look at her Facebook author page, or follow @SMartinGlennon on Twitter. All content on this blog, unless otherwise attributed, is (c) 2012-2020 by Stephanie M. Glennon and should not be reproduced (in any form other than re-blogging in accordance with Wordpress protocol and the numerous other wee buttons at the bottom of each post) without the express permission of the domain holder.
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8 Responses to Changed Forever

  1. Beautiful poem, thanks for sharing that – and the photo..

  2. Tineke Vandegrift says:

    Hey Steph, Thanks for sharing this wonderful poem. I will bring it with me to read at a mini-retreat today.

  3. susielindau says:

    My heart breaks too.
    We were in NYC weeks before 911 and my son insisted on going to the World Trade Center. Looking at the pictures afterward was heart wrenching….
    Love the poem.

  4. Stephanie….today of all days I needed your words and that valuable poem. Thank you. There is so much in my life (I can only speak for mine) that I can’t explain and so much that baffles me. I look for familiar things that might ground me, and sometimes they lead to more and more things that ground me and then I am no longer grounded because I have this big mess to clean up on top of all the other messes. Piles of STUFF meant to be filed another day, phone calls to answer or numbers to enter into data base?????what???? So, I will hold on to this poem – print it out, in fact – and stick it on my refrigerator where in lies another mess……and…..breathe..

  5. Tina Schell says:

    Blessing in the Chaos – really beautiful and perfect for the occasion.

  6. Suzanne says:

    beautiful poem. I love the sentiment.

  7. Touch2Touch says:

    The poem is really quite wonderful. Thanks.

  8. Pingback: The Way of Words | Love in the Spaces

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