Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What Do You Say?

I am not particularly gifted when it comes to eloquence. I'll leave that to the real writers.

There is nothing I can say that hasn't already been said. I'm just going to sort out my thoughts.

Yesterday, when the news came from Boston, my heart went to my throat and my mind went into overdrive.

Katherine, Theresa, Judith, Misti, Sarah.

Where were they? I knew they had all finished by the time the explosion happened. But were they back at the Finish among the spectators? Had they gone back to wait for someone? To meet their cheering squads? 

Please God, let them all be ok.

Why? Why would someone do this? Why would someone do this to runners? The runners I know are caring, loving people who give give give. Runners don't hurt anyone. Why would someone want to hurt them?

The spectators. Good God... the spectators. People who were there with nothing but goodness in their heart, showing their support to the people they loved or maybe even just to complete strangers. 

Boston. A city that had captured my heart last year and held it firmly since. My favorite American city. The one American city that I would move to in a heartbeat if I could. Back Bay - where I stay when I go because I can't get enough of its charming streets filled with an endlessly fascinating diversity of people, beauty, and good food.

I couldn't think of anything else for the rest of the day. One by one, I found out that Theresa, Judith, Misti, and Sarah were ok. But I hadn't heard from Katherine. I texted, I tweeted, I Facebooked. "The data networks are just overwhelmed. I'm sure she is fine." I kept repeating to myself. 

Finally, hours later, word that she was fine. 

By 4:30, my head was thumping with a headache that had begun that morning and had increased throughout the day. I still couldn't believe what had happened. My mind was still racing. I didn't know what to do.

So, I did the only thing I could think of. The only thing that would help me calm down. 

That thing, of course, was to go for a run.

I ran Monument Avenue. The place where just 2 days before I had been lucky enough to feel the power of running. Where nearly 40,000 runners and thousands more spectators and volunteers had come together to celebrate the triumph of the human spirit. To cheer each other on. To help each other. To love and care for each other. To accomplish something. 

To celebrate LIFE and DOING. 

I meditated on Boston during the run. My thoughts began with the runners, then the spectators. As I sorted out what I was feeling, I couldn't stop thinking about how each of them - how each of us - has a light and a story. I believe that each of us has a spark of the divine. That our role as human beings is to respect and nurture that light in one another. Why else are we such social creatures? We need each other. Think about how much a random compliment from a stranger brightens up your day. How happy hour with a friend can make even the worst day better. How your running buddy can grab your hand at the finish and give you that last boost that you need to get it done. How study after study shows that being social and engaging with people helps prevent dementia and Alzheimer's in the elderly. 

When terrible things like this happen, like most people, I wonder what the person who carried out the act was thinking. I wonder what kind of life they had... what happened to them to make them want to harm someone else in such a random, senseless way? Deep down, I feel that the people who do these things have forgotten that we all have a light. They have lost touch with humanity. 

What can we do as a society to help these people? To remind them that everyone is important. That they are important and can contribute to the world. 

I'm not sure what we can do. For my part, I'm going to try to keep in mind the golden rule of do unto others as you would have done unto you. 

I'm going to keep running. I'm going to keep living. 

As I ran through what was the finish area for Saturday's Monument Avenue 10k, I sent up a prayer for the people whose finish line dreams were destroyed today. I sent my thanks that I am running again and that I can do this. That I can commune with my fellow runners - the ones that I know and don't know - who give me so much joy and happiness. 

Ironically, I had never really been much interested in the Boston Marathon before this year. But this year, the bug got me.  Even though I have never run a marathon and am not anywhere fast enough to qualify, the pipe dream of someday, somehow, running Boston entered my head. 

Now, all I can think is that I have to go. I have to go to Boston. Even if I don't run, I will go spectate or volunteer. I love Boston. I want to be in that city, on a day that means so much to the sport I love. To prove that the power of good people is stronger than hate.

My Mom called me at 6 pm, as I was driving home after my run. "Are you ok?" she simply asked. I said I was, and that all of my friends were too. I was surprised at the tremor in my voice. Then she said, "I'm glad you are finished running races for a while."

I knew she would be worried. I know that she will worry from now on and that sucks. She's my mom - it's what she does. I'm her daughter - it's what I do too. But I said to her, "You know what Mom, nothing is safe anymore. It can happen anytime, anywhere. It could happen tomorrow. I can't let it stop me."

It won't stop us. We just have to keep loving. Keep being there for each other. Keep running, Keep living. 

Courtesy of Linda Beck and One More Mile Running Apparel


1 comment:

  1. I’m not sure what you think “real writers” would have said, or how they would have said it, but I think this was a beautifully written tribute not only to those affected by the senseless violence of yesterday, but to the spirit of our favorite sport. I’ve been in a media blackout since I heard and refused to come out of it until I collected my thoughts and got them out of my head. I’m still not sure I’m ready to re-enter the social media world. But I really enjoyed reading this, and couldn’t agree more with your sentiment. It’s a great read Kathryn. Thank you.

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