“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (Message)
I was brought to tears many times on Monday. At first, when it happened and pictures from the scene started showing up. The chaos, the destruction, the panic. And then when the accounts started pouring in. Of runners running to the hospital to give blood. Of the volunteers stepping up and going above and beyond what they ever imagined they had to do. Of people opening their homes to displaced runners. Of there being no shortage of blood supply, thanks to people giving. Of the police and the EMTs and first responders – who just did their job and did it well.
I’ve participated in many races and I’ve spectated at even more. I love the running community. It’s supportive and inspiring. While I don’t ever see myself running a marathon, or even a half-marathon, I love being at races and the atmosphere that envelopes you. It’s intoxicating. Runners are incredible people with these fascinating drives to get out there and run for hours and hours at a time.
It took my mom over 7 hours to complete her two marathons. I know it’s not an impressive time (and sometimes she feels like she’s not really a marathoner because it took her so long) but just imagine being on your feet, running and walking and limping and hobbling, for seven straight hours. Heck, I can barely handle an hour of it before the monotony is too much. Checking off mile after mile after mile. All to say you ran a marathon and to get that coveted medal.
On Sunday, I participated in my fourth Iron Girl race. I walked the 5K with my mom and her coworker and it was hard. It was the first race I’ve done in a while where I haven’t listened to music and I have to say, you miss out on a lot when you’re listening to music. I felt such camaraderie with the people around me. We cheered each other on. We cheered when the front runners in the race passed us. We laughed at the signs people had made specifically to motivate us. There was such support between everyone. We all wanted to succeed and see the people around us succeed. A race is a place of celebration, of pride, of encouragement. It is not a place of chaos and destruction.
What happened on Monday was truly awful. I have never felt unsafe at a race, not when I’m participating or spectating. To take something so triumphant and inspiring and turn it into a tragedy like this, it breaks my heart. It frightens me that something like this could happen – that someone could hate so much to bring darkness on such a celebratory day. My heart hurts for Boston, this place where my grandfather grew up and a city that doesn’t hide its passion. I know a lot of people from Boston and I love them all. They are good people.
When the tragedy of Newtown happened, I couldn’t put into words how I felt. I couldn’t listen to the news reports, couldn’t look at the faces of those children, without feeling so sickened and scared of the fate of our country. Thinking about the the terror those kids and teachers must have faced is heart-wrenching.
I was eleven was Columbine happened and thirteen when 9/11 happened. I was young. I was clueless. I heard about it, shrugged my shoulders, and went about my day. I didn’t have the emotional capacity to understand how devastating these events were and would be for the rest of my life. They were sad events, but they didn’t affect my day-to-day life or anyone I knew so I couldn’t grasp what it meant for our country.
I was 19 and a freshman in college, living on a college campus, when Virginia Tech happened. Thirty-two people killed.
Then, just last year, there was a shooting in a random theater in Colorado. 12 deaths, 58 injuries. What? How could this happen?
In December, a sick man walked into an elementary school and killed 26 people, including 20 children. This can’t be happening. Not here. Not now.
Two bombs went off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. 3 deaths, 183 injuries. How. Could. This. Happen.
Am I scared for our country? No, I am not. We are a strong country. We are unified. We are together. We are one.
We will not be silenced. We will go on. We will run races. We will kiss sweet babies and play silly games with children. We will travel to see friends, attend sporting events, and make each day count. We will not be silenced. We will love, most of all. We will laugh and cry and feel joy and life. We will love our families and love our friends and love our neighbors and love strangers. Love is the answer to all this. Choose love. Be love. Live love.
Just as it was in Colorado and Newtown and Columbine and Virginia and New York – our hearts are with you, Boston. We are with you.