I’m not a runner. Just a sister to runners. Proud by proxy. In my estimation, there is only one reason to stand at a marathon finish line. It is to feel your heart swell. To feel it thrum steadily and then fill suddenly with a burst of astonishment and compassion and pride so great that you can physically feel it.
Watching runners cross the finish line is to be reminded of the strength of the human spirit; the persistent keeping-on that we manage by miracle over and over again. At a marathon, the demonstration of will and strength is elective, mostly. Runners set a challenge for themselves and they set out to meet it. And when they do, and even if they don’t, there are heart swells.
In these next few days, and in the months and years that will follow, we will see a similar kind of strength. Tragically, it will likely not come with the hoots and hollers that you find at the end of a finish line, but we will take lessons from that place. We will buoy each other up, press ahead, face each new day with fortitude that didn’t seem possible the day before. We will make like the marathoners and carry on.
In the wake of yesterday’s senseless bombings at the Boston Marathon, I find comfort in knowing that the scores of people who were there–and likely all of the people who were injured and killed–had come together because of a common desire to bear witness to the strength and vitality of human beings.
Last night, a series of illuminations were projected against the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Simple messages of love and hope for Boston. These make for heart swells, too.