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.