boston_marathon_logo_2013This morning there are things that we know. Things that we don’t know. There are images that we will remember and images that we can’t forget. There are stories of tragedy, stories of courage.

What I still can’t get used to hearing is “the bombing at the Boston Marathon.” I can’t make this make sense. The words just don’t go together.

What I hear most often this morning is “Why?” Why would anyone do this? Why would anyone want to kill and maim innocent wives, husbands, children, friends, and family? We ask this as if there was an answer that would make sense. We ask as though there was an answer that we could understand. There isn’t. There isn’t an answer.

There was a popular ad campaign that said something like: “Runners. Yeah. We’re different”. We’re different. We’re not like everyone else. We do things differently, experience things differently. We are NOT a part of the culture at large. We are runners. We are different.

What we learned from the New York City Marathon is that runners are not immune to the power of the universe. Hurricanes don’t care how long you’ve trained. They don’t care that running a marathon is a life-list dream. They don’t care that you are a runner.

Yesterday we learned that we, elite runners, charity runners, young, old, male, female, runners are not protected from the dangers, the horrors, and the hatred that are in the world. We aren’t. If we thought we were yesterday morning, THIS morning we know we’re not.

But, as runners and as individuals, it’s not what happens to us that matters. It’s how we react to what happens. What matters is if we allow our life experiences – good or bad – to define us or merely describe us. What we are left with when the smoke clears and the media goes off to the next horrible event is a decision. What do we do now?

I’m going to Nashville. I will stand at the finish line as I have at hundreds of marathons and greet the finishers. I will look into the faces of thousands of people and share their emotions. When they look back they may notice just a small bit of sadness in my eyes.

The sadness is from the knowledge that we – all of us who ever have pinned on a race number – are now and forever a part of the narrative of terror.



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