Crossing the finish line of a marathon is supposed to be a huge celebration of a huge achievement. A time of hugs and high fives, a few tears of relief and joy, celebratory lunches, and lots of congratulations. This year, this was not the case at all at the Boston marathon, and yet, in the midst of all the tragedy, there is some to celebrate.
I will never be fast enough to qualify for Boston (although maybe that could become a far off dream of mine...), I did run my second marathon less than two weeks ago. So I know. I get "it." And I so completely don't get what happened in Boston. I don't get that at all.
Marathons show the best and people. And I absolutely do not mean just the runners. I am not so quick to forget the hundred (thousands, even?) of people who lined up to cheer us on; the volunteers handing out water and Powerade; people just watching and giving out water, fruit, and snacks; people with music, posters, words of encouragement. From the people lining the streets by the Sunsphere to cheer for the start, to those with hilarious signs through the boulevard, to the screaming crowd all the way of Noleton, to those lining the strip, to those all around the back half offering words of encouragement in the midst of lonely exhaustion, to the joy of smiles and cheers in Island Home, to the random applause from the "after church lunch eaters" down Gay Street and through Market Square, to those waiting to cheer us into Neyland and across the 50 yard line, to those waiting to support us (literally) as we struggled to walk on our aching legs... Marathons show the best in people.
That is why I am not at all surprised by the spirit of the people in Boston on Monday. Stories of people running to the victims, rather than away from them. Stories of people tearing down the barrier between the spectators and the race to get to the injured. Stories of people opening up their homes to runners. The story of the man who gave up his medal (makes me so proud to be able to claim him as part of my much larger YoungLife community). Stories of runners running to the hospital to donate blood, or giving up their place in the medical tent for others with injuries. Stories of the singing of the National Anthem in the first sporting event in Boston after the marathon. Stories of people comforting each other. Stories of people loving each other.
My mom put this on Facebook...
People can be so good. And so much good can be seen in such terrible moments.
It's true, there are some bad, very bad, people, but they pale in comparison to the number of good people. And they always will. The amount of people standing against evil will outnumber those doing evil. Love will always win. God always prevails.
And so we won't stop. We won't stop caring for one another. We won't stop running to help one another. We won't stop being love. And we definitely won't stop running marathons.