I was angry about the many people, crowding the streets to show support for their family members and friends, who were injured. I was angry about the 8-year-old boy, murdered just moments after running out to give his dad a hug. And angry about his sister, who like many, lost a limb. I was angry for people like my friend Aaron, who has trained for most of his life just to get to Boston, only to have his accomplishment tarnished. I was also angry for the people who trained so hard but didn't get to finish, robbed of the joyous moment you feel crossing the finish line. Some might find that irrational in light of so many more tragic stories.
Looking through the news this morning, I just found it all unbearable. Too much sadness, too much pointing fingers before we even have answers. Too much fear. And it's hard not to be fearful. It's hard not to think, "This could have been anywhere." It could have been New York. It could have been the Chicago or Detroit marathons, both of which my husband and I have been at more than once. How do you even begin to make peace with the senselessness?
So I did what I always do when I'm angry, or upset, or stressed; I went for a run.
Here is what happened while I ran down the Bicentennial Trail here in Portage.
I ran the first half mile quietly, without music. Just the birds and my feet. Soft sounds. I reflected on the people who lost family, or have injured family. I said words for them. I thanked the powers that be that my friends there that day were safe, and accounted for. I thought about how thankful I am that we have a community that embraces all runners, all people; the same community that organized a run tonight at the trail I ran on today, to show solidarity with the people in Boston. (If you'd like to go and run, walk, or just show support, here is the info: Kalamazoo Solidarity Run)
For the rest of my run, the sun came out. I smiled and waved at the people who, like me, were out moving. I melted when a rollerblader went past with two dachshund puppies on leashes, dashing out ahead happily. I noted things in the blogspace I keep in my head. I picked up my pace. I concentrated on my breathing. I focused.
And when I was done with four miles, I sat on the warm pavement and just kind of soaked up the sunshine for a minute. We are so lucky. We are lucky for every day we get on this planet. We are lucky for the life that courses through our veins, our muscles. It would be shameful to waste that life on fear.
Runners are a close community, but one with open arms. When I first started running, I was embraced by my Kalamazoo Area Runners family. After that, by my Borgess Run Camp family. And after that, my EPIC Crew family. It is not uncommon to meet someone at a race, while running, and form a friendship. This is maybe part of why yesterday's tragedy struck such a resonant chord with so many, worldwide even. Because runners are a family, and we take care of our family.
And I wish for peace and healing for all of our family affected.
"And it's hard to dance with the devil on your back- so shake it out." ~ Florence + the Machine