I’ve been in shock the past few days. While I’ve never run twenty-six miles before, I could easily imagine myself in the place of the runners who lost their limbs and lives in their last few minutes of the Boston Marathon.
And then, of course, was the overwhelming media frenzy surrounding the manhunt. Police scanners and CNN reports and New York Times graphics of Boston neighborhoods. Twitter updates and speculations and false flags. It was enough to make anyone far away from the situation want to curl up with a book and pretend none of it was happening.
But it is real. Thankfully, they caught the suspect. Thankfully, the worst is over. We can cheer the brave cops and FBI agents and bomb technicians for the unbelievable amount of perseverance they showed over the past few days. We have closure, thank God.
But for many coping with loved ones who are now gone, or are realizing that they are going to be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of their lives, it’s a tragic beginning. And I can’t begin to think of what it must be like to be a relative of the suspects right now, to feel you had a hand in this, even indirectly.
It’s hard for any of us to know what to do in moments like this. Share a sympathetic Facebook status. Donate. Pray.
But what I’m grateful for in this whole mess is that even in New York, miles away from the reconstruction and grieving, there’s something I can do to show our spirit can’t be crushed, and that our determination isn’t going to fizzle out. And that’s run.
Perhaps it’s not something that will make a difference in the grand scheme of things, but it will make a difference to me. We’re fragile creatures, and the rhythm of our lives is destroyed so easily. But I can show my thankfulness for life and health by sprinting down the sidewalk. What a beautiful thing.
As I clock in my miles this afternoon, as I watch the other runners around me in Central Park sweating, limping, stretching, slurping water from plastic bottles, you can bet Boston will be on my mind.