Now that the dust has settled from the tragedy at the Boston Marathon and the bad guy is in custody, it is time to start the healing. We were bombarded with images last week of unthinkable violence, of blood and tears. But a week later, the dominating image and theme is strength and healing. We are moving into the light, focusing on the good. We are focusing on the heroes of last week, those who ran toward the danger rather than away from it. We are focusing on people who gave of themselves (food, clothing, time, money etc.). And maybe this week, people are a little kinder to each other, smile at each other, hug each other. Instead of honking as a way of communicating on the road, perhaps today drivers will give a wave and let others merge. Instead of putting off that phone call to a loved one, we will call and reconnect.
My life has gone on as normal. My husband had to travel and I busy myself taking care of the kids with schoolwork, sports practices etc. When I get a wave of sadness, I think to myself that it is silly. I am fine. I was lucky. I walked away from that day unscathed. I can walk and I will run another marathon. The other day, I wore my marathon jacket to the gym and a lady told me she had been praying for all of us all week. The tears came again as I tried to focus on the good and scolded myself for being so emotional. What is wrong with me?
Then someone helped put things in perspective. I received a text from a mother of one of my daughter’s soccer teammates. She had reached out to me immediately on Monday, concerned about me. She had also sent several messages throughout the week telling me she was thinking about me. It is quickly becoming apparent that this is a great person to have in my life and we are solidifying a friendship. That text conversation included some of the following wise words from her:
“It is not at all surprising that it’s been emotionally challenging. It’s your passion and mission to share your love of running, and help others face their fear of succeeding physically and emotionally. This pinnacle and life goal of yours was altered, entirely outside of your control. It’s a bad dream at its worst, it happened and intruded into your world….you get through it, it changes you forever and ultimately it makes you a person who appreciates the highs in life that much more. Having said that, walking the path to that is not easy but it’s able to be done. There is hope, it only takes one candle to bring light to a dark place- kwim?”
Her words helped me feel so much more normal. I have seen a lot of candles recently and the light is starting to eclipse the dark.
My neighbor expressed her support yesterday morning while the kids were at the bus stop. She forwarded the following statement from Patton Oswalt, reprinted by The Huffington Post :
“Boston. Fucking horrible.
I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, “Well, I’ve had it with humanity.”
But I was wrong. I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem — one human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.
But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in a while, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.
But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evildoers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.
So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, ‘The good outnumber you, and we always will.’”
So I am choosing to see the light. I refuse to obsess about the evil and the darkness. I am lifted by prayers of others and re-commit myself to doing good in the world. I am still doing my random acts of kindness each week (I am just dismally behind on writing about them). I may not be able to change the world to fight against evil, but I promise you that I will be a candle in the dark.
The candles that have lit my way this past week are people doing kind things for other people: the woman who gave Jamie the sweatshirt, the guy who offered to text and email for me, the woman who risked getting in trouble to get me a banana. Candles lighting my way are phone calls and emails and Facebook messages. I am lifted up by texts from old friends and new ones.
I am feeling more normal for feeling emotional.
I received something in the mail this weekend that brought on the waterworks all over again and gave me an increased faith in the goodness in people. A woman I know on Facebook through Team Tough Chik sent me one of the most thoughtful things. She says it is no big deal, but to me, it is a very big deal.
And my friend Terri went to downtown Boston the other day and picked up my medal from the BAA. They were very nice and even offered to put the medal around her neck. I am excited to receive it in the mail!
As I look toward my next marathon (in less than two weeks!!!), I am healing physically and mentally. I am looking at the goodness in people and focusing on the overwhelming love I have felt over the past seven days. For everyone who was affected, from the victims to the running community at large, I hope that the healing has begun. Let us all be the candles that light the way.
This song was published two years ago when Boston won the Stanley Cup. It is hard not to smile and LOVE that city when you see this video.