I am married to a dedicated runner and the Boston marathon is an elusive, top of the ‘bucket-list’ race. Only the fastest 5% of runners qualify and Jeff was one of them this year.
Jeff crossed the finish line less than an hour before the bombs went off and our friend crossed it 20 min. before. We had arranged to gather at the family meeting area, two blocks from the finish line and had just found one another, when we heard the explosions. As we heard sirens coming from every direction we knew those two unearthly sounds, had done something devastating.
I realize people all over the world live in chaotic, unsafe places living out their daily lives. I’ve never known that kind of terror and sorrow and darkness but I have a small sense now.
I envision little Martin and his sister happily cheering and watching for their dad and I see my son and daughter. But nothing I feel compares to the deep well of everything that those who were there, those who’ve lost their loved ones and limbs, those who attended to the chaos and terrible wounds with fearlessness and care, are feeling.
Finish lines have long been places of celebration, of humanity and perseverance. Tears are shed, sweaty hugs had, people look exhausted beyond belief and people look exhilarated by the accomplishment. To have such a horrible violence come over those moments leaves me speechless. But I do know and trust that somehow the light seeps through the cracks of the darkest moments and the dawn does come. Life is always trying to reveal that.
The next morning we walked the Freedom Trail with helicopters hovering and police every direction, some with fingers already held in the trigger of their guns. We walked with fear and sore bodies and hearts.
We were stopped several times by the people of Boston, to say they were sorry that this has been what we have known of their beloved place. I didn’t need any convincing that Boston was beautiful and good and that her people will rise and they will run again. And out of solidarity and hope, we will too. We will stand at many finish lines yet to come, and we will celebrate life and choose love over anger, courage over fear and hope over despair, some days that is easier than others, but something tells me that Martin, who I’ve seen pictured holding a sign saying, “No more hurting each other”, would want that for all of us.
(Kristy and Jeff are alumnus of Carey and good friends to many of us. )