I woke up this morning with a hole in my heart and a pit in my stomach. Like the rest of the world, my heart bleeds for Boston and all of the people who ran or attended the marathon yesterday. Patriots Day IS New England. From the re-enactment of the ride of Paul Revere to the early Red Sox game to one of the most highly regarded marathons in the world, all of Boston unites and comes alive.
I watched the Boston Marathon several times from that very spot on Boylston Street. I have never seen crowds as big or as enthusiastic. Every runner has a story. The first year I watched, I remember hearing about a woman who was running the marathon with a donor heart. An enormous feat in and of itself, but that’s not all. The sister of the girl who donated the heart came to watch. She wanted to see her sister’s heart carry this woman across the finish line. Or the story of Dick Hoyt who for 31 years has run Boston pushing his son, Rick, a quadriplegic with cerebral palsy, in a wheelchair because he told his father when they run, it feels like he’s not handicapped. While not every story is so dramatic, everyone runs with a purpose. As a runner, seeing the elites cross the line in just over 2 hours was awe-inspiring to watch, but the true spirit of the race is in watching the every day folks who probably dreamed of doing this race forever; who spent months if not years training, some raising money for charities to gain entry. All of whom laced up their sneakers early yesterday morning prepared to push their bodies a little further than they had ever been pushed in order to fulfill a dream. Seeing the raw emotion as they cross the finish line literally lifts you up. The atmosphere is incredible. Wall-to-wall people screaming and cheering these runners to victory, be it in 2 hours or 5. To see a day filled with such hope, such emotion, such accomplishment and such celebration marred the way it was is nothing short of heartbreaking.
All morning I felt weighted down. I didn’t want to just go about my day when so many people were hurting, but I didn’t know what to do. I came across a blog (lifelessbullshit.com/keep-running/) asking the same question and what she wrote really spoke to me. I had it in my mind all day and I feel like it gave me purpose. It doesn’t make what happened yesterday go away and it will never make those affected whole, but it seemed thoughtful and constructive. It gave me purpose. This was my favorite part:
What do we do?
You keep going, that’s what. You keep moving forward, because relentless forward progress and the strengthening of our commitment to one another is the best response to senseless violence.
What do you do? You live bigger and love harder. You put a stop to the self-limiting beliefs and the negative self-talk that’s been holding you back, and you go out there and do what you were put here to do. You write the book, start the business, take the trip, learn to paint. You take chances. You use your gifts and your talents to brighten the world, and you tell yourself over and over that no matter how dark it can get, there is always more brightness than darkness. You commit to being part of the brightness.
Fourth of July on the Esplanade, Marathon Monday and Fenway Park… there’s no greater place. Boston holds a special part of my heart. My Dad grew up there so we spent time there as kids. Even as a little girl, I was enamored with Boston. The brownstones, the Red Sox, preppy skirts embroidered with lobsters…I wanted to be a part of it. Two weeks after college I moved there for graduate school and it did not disappoint. It was the kind of adventure that no doubt shaped a big part of who I am today. Come to think of it, I did quite a bit of growing up there myself. So many of the people I met and spent time with in Boston left big footprints. I have so many wonderful memories and adventures. Boston gave me so much. Tonight that is where I send my prayers.