Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Thoughts on Boston

I need to write now. I haven't felt that in a while. It's not that I had nothing to say. There were topics that cam to mind. Lacking the push to put them on paper, I left them there. Today it is different. I feel as if I will explode if I don't write. So here I am. I've been told my best writing is done when it's not planned; when I just let things flow. Perhaps. Today I have such a jumble of thoughts and I am not sure whether I can connect them.

A number of weeks ago, I sat going through race pictures from a race I'd run. I saw fast runners, and less-fast runners. Slow runners, and walkers. Smiles and scowls. Most of all, I saw heart, effort, passion and drive. Looking through race pictures reminds about what I most love about running. The personal stories, the collective effort and struggle, and will to improve. The desire to move, to be challenged, to get out there and feel alive.

Yesterday, an effort was made to change that. To take one of the most life-affirming activities I know, and bring death and hurt into the equation. I'd like to say that it failed, or that we will overcome, or win, or something like that, but I can't. I don't know what will happen. I'm scared. I'm sad. I'm numb. It is way to early to know what will happen.

The Boston Marathon course feels holy to me. I know that's an odd word to use, particularly as a rabbi. I typed it, deleted it, thinking it wrong, but re-typed it, as I could think of no truer word. Running there was a victory lap, after having struggled mightily to qualify. After showing myself, that I had more drive and desire then I had previously known. After coming back from a deflating injury. I fulfilled a dream there, and it felt as good as I'd hoped it would feel. Better, actually.

I had friends and acquaintances who ran Boston yesterday. People who worked hard to qualify for the first time. Veterans for whom it was old hat. One friend paced a double amputee, while another paced a young autistic man. I followed them, virtually through the race, hoping they'd love it as much as I had. What should have been a celebration, was turned into a day of tears.

When I went out last evening to run, having put on my Boston hat in a sort of desperate, but pathetic attempt to connect, I couldn't slow down. The combination of some bad personal news I'd received earlier and the bombing prevented me from running easily. I needed to move, to struggle, to hurt, and to hope things would be better. I desperately wanted to figure out how any of this made sense, to believe that, somehow, things would be ok. It didn't happen. I don't know if and when it will. I am scared sad and numb.


  1. Dear Pesach--I want to offer you a word of encouragement:
    Psalm 46:1-2
    God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea. . .
    Do not loose heart. He is still good.

  2. What is amazing is that there were not as many casualties as their could have been.

  3. I've never qualified for Boston. And maybe I never will. I'm a "new" runner, as I only started running with last fall's NJM C25K program. But, I understand and appreciate that you had the need to put your thoughts into writing. Somehow... in some strange way... it helps to hear (read) them. I don't know you, personally. But, just because I'm a runner and you're a runner; or maybe just because I'm a person and you're a person, I feel connected to you in some way and appreciate your words. So, thank you.

  4. Birga,thanks for your thoughts and kindness.

  5. Janet, I'm touched and moved by your words. Thanks.