The events of Monday’s Boston Marathon have been on my heart and mind non-stop for the last 48 hours. I’ve replayed the events looking for some shred of meaning in each of them, especially the moment I realized the horror. My boss’ quiet yet frantic question, “Have you heard about the Boston Marathon?” It was just minutes after the blasts when she snuck around my office door and asked, like one afraid to break the words of death to a loved one.
As I watched the footage of runners, spectators, smoke and chaos, my heart sank. It’s funny in a way that it’s not: My very first thoughts had nothing to do with the physical pain or the loss of life or the disgusting nature of whoever plotted to harm so many in this insidious way; my first thoughts were for the runners, staring headlong into a goal cut short, ripped away from them. I couldn’t stop imaging the disappointment of bone-deep commitment turned mute.
As a runner, I think I understand. I know the hours, and sacrifice, and pain that goes into training for a distance race. And I watched with sheer sadness at that being stripped away from each runner in a matter of 12 seconds, whether they finished the race or not. Every win was tarnished and every incomplete race became another tragedy.
Yet, the running community doesn’t see it that way. From Twitter, to the streets of suburban Denver, I’ve seen runners taking this disgusting act of cowardice in stride, wearing race shirts to support our friends, dedicating miles to their honor, enduring and overcoming with each new moment, the same way every runner takes each new mile. It seems my running brothers and sisters see triumph all over the face of this mess. I’ve read account after account of altruism and beauty far outshining the darkness of this evil plan: So many ran INTO the danger. In my heart, I am revived by the truth of solidarity in Something Bigger than.
We are Boston, and now, this is our race.
Hate cannot win. Fear must not be allowed to choke us. We cannot let go of what we love so much, what we value in each mile, each life, each pounding foot –fall, for the evil that fills one person or groups sickened heart. Instead? We must take that laborious, painstaking first step out of bed, to our closets. We must lace up, and we must run. Each and every step is an affront to the hate, a statement of resistance to fear.
Most importantly, we must pray. We must pray for peace in the midst of hate, peace in the heart that tortures itself with hate, peace in the hearts maimed by hate. Wounds will heal. Hate erodes.
We are Boston. This IS our race.