Jason, my husband, generously offered to watch the baby for a few minutes this afternoon while I took a break from parenting. I fixed myself an iced coffee with plenty of cream, cuddled up under a blanket and tapped open the Twitter app on my iPhone.
And there it was all over my Home page. News about the Boston Marathon explosions. I was floored. First because I am human, but also because I am a runner. A long distance runner at that.
I have the calluses on my feet to prove it. Hardened skin etched over miles of asphalt, mud, dirt and cement. I wear sun sprinkles on my cheeks, tan lines on my legs. I know my way around town only from running. People ask me, “Where do you run?”
“All over,” I say. All over.
I know what it takes to show up at the start line. It takes heart, literally and figuratively. I know what it feels like to finish. I’ve done it so many times.
And even though I haven’t run the Boston Marathon, I KNOW. I understand in the way every runner whose been around the block a few hundred thousand times KNOWS. It’s not just any race. It’s THE race. It’s the moderately-competitive-recreational-runner’s crowning achievement. Once you’ve qualified for BOSTON, you’ve made it. It’s official. You’re the real deal.
Which is one of the (many) reasons why today was just so sad. It was an attack on the notion that with hard work comes great reward. On the idea that all we must do to experience joy and triumph is endure the pain. It was an attack on hope.
And now our nation is grieving. Some the very poignant and incomprehensibly real grief of loss, I’m sure. Be it life or limb. Some are grappling with a renewed sense of insecurity and lack of control. Are we ever safe? Are our children ever safe? This was my thought as I watched my baby running around in the back yard, equally thrilled with the bird perched on our fence and A ROCK. She and my husband will be waiting for me at the finish line of my next race a month from now.
And so we all want to know WHY. Why would anyone take away our lives, our limbs, our security and our hope?
The more I think about that question, the more I think there can only be one answer. I think you must have to lose hope before you can take hope. I think you probably have to feel profoundly hurt before you can so profoundly hurt another. And all this pain and sadness and loss of hope are just too much for me to bear. So I am prepared to do the only thing I believe is capable of breaking this cycle.
I forgive you, Boston Marathon Bomber. We are all more than our most terrible deeds. I offer you my love, so that it may heal your hurt and you can join with the rest of us again – in hope.