I grew up just 12 miles from the start line of the Boston Marathon. During my elementary school years my dad would take us to a spot along the route, not far from that Hopkinton start, where we joined other happy onlookers lining both sides of the street to cheer on the runners. I have the most vivid memories of excitedly offering out orange slices to the athletes as they passed, giggling with a little sense of pride when one accepted my offering as they breezed by.
If ever there was a picture of this journey of life, yes, the marathon is it. Surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, we press on towards the goal to win the prize.
Lining the sidewalks, our community, the family, friends, mentors, cheer leaders, that keep us running, keep us pressing in, pressing on, for what we know awaits us if we can just finish well. They are our people.
And yesterday, April 15, 2013, an uglier, darker side to the marathon/life analogy.
photo: David L. Ryan // The Boston Globe
In this world, we are promised, we will have trouble.
Even though I know the world is a broken place, that it’s not as it will and should be on one glorious day, that evil is real but God is bigger, even still, the wounds sting and cut every time tragedy strikes. And every time, it feels a little bit closer to home. Last December, it came close to home.
I am a Boston girl, and this, this is close to home. My heart, broken for grieving families and a hurting people in the city I love most.
And the hardest thing I can imagine doing in the wake of grief is to run, to continue, to press on. When our hearts are aching, doubting, angry, and fighting fear at every turn, wouldn’t it be easier (and entirely respectable) to untie our laces, toss in the running shoes, and forget about this whole racing thing altogether?
But that’s not what runners do.
They press on.
Tend to wounds,
allow time for injuries to heal,
I am not a runner, but I like the way they operate.
The life’s-a-marathon-not-a-sprint mentality. It’s good theology.
Tomorrow my race may be over, but right now?
Right now, in this moment, I have breath in my lungs and there’s a race to be run.
Sweet friends, life here is but a whisper, but the greatest gift?
If we call out to Him, the finish line of this great race of life is really just the beginning.
with prayers // by grace,