Patriots Day....Marathon Monday - a Boston tradition that conjures feelings of joy, pride, spring, personal accomplishment, fun, freedom, family. Growing up 9 miles outside of Boston, it's an integral part of the fabric that always signified that the Spring was here. The ambiance of the city and surrounding suburbs came alive on Patriots Day, and a switch was flicked, from the long cold winter to the rebirth that is representative of spring. We always knew someone that was running the Boston Marathon on any given year, and regardless of how long it took them to cross that finish line -even if they were staggering past it after nightfall, it was an accomplishment so great and full of such pride that it radiated to all standing at that finish line cheering them on. Each and every person who managed to pass that finish line now proudly bore that that badge of honor.
Yesterday's events are tragic on so many levels. The innocent victims who waited patiently at the finish line to be a part of a joyous celebration, some of whose lives are now changed forever. Lives lost in the blink of an eye. Runners who would never see the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon. A joyous day overshadowed by senseless tragedy. Marathon Monday now synonymous with tragedy, loss, and chaos. Boston truly is a wicked awesome city filled with resilient people who will grieve, get angry, and then keep on forging forward. But regardless of how strong the people are, the day will now serve as an anniversary. A day of remembrance. A day that will now always be bittersweet.
As I watched the events unfold on TV in "my" city - I felt shock & sadness. I thought about growing up with the marathon in my backyard, so to speak, and I felt lucky to have been a part of such a wonderful event - year after year - never giving a second thought to the feeling of security we had growing up. Many years I didn't even attend the marathon, but felt the excitement of the city and was still a part of the vibe. I probably took it for granted. In fact, having that general sense of security - never having to worry about a terrorist attack at a major event...we definitely took that for granted. Will my children ever experience that innocent sense of security that I did as a kid? The unfortunate answer to that question is no. They won't. The fact is that they are growing up in a totally different world. A certain innocence has been lost over the years...and there's no getting it back. So what now? What's safe? Is there any such thing anymore?
All we can do is have faith....pray for all those affected. Look for some sort of silver lining in all of this. The heroic acts of those who ran toward the blasts to help the injured - some total strangers - without giving a second thought for their own safety. This world may be getting crazier every day, but it seems that our sense of humanity and connectedness to one another is also getting stronger. Strangers helping strangers - random acts of kindness popping up all over the country after the recent Newtown tragedy. Yes, there's evil out there, but there's so much more good. All we can do is build on that and in our own individual day to day lives, be just a little more kind, more empathetic. Maybe aim to do 1 thing a day - small as it may be - to help someone or brighten their day. Take tragedy and do the best we can to turn it into triumph. I just read a quote from a friend on Facebook that really struck me..
"Time itself is somewhat meaningless. It comes
and goes so quickly. ...its what you do with it that makes all the
difference. So use it wisely and don't waste any!" It's so simple a concept, yet one that we lose sight of so easily. I know I do and I hope to change that. Live in experiences, not in hours.
I love you Boston....you're my home!