Boston Marathon: Six Months Later

I don't know why people have to die. And I especially don't know why they have to die in such ridiculous ways. I don't know why free will is so important to God that God doesn't do more smiting of evil doers before they can do so much harm. (Maybe that is why I am not God....that and the fact that if I were I would have a bumper sticker that read: Why yes, my son DOES walk on water....oh and it would probably be dangerous for God to have so many random hormone fluctuations.....and then there would be the problem of forgiveness: "Seriously? You want me to forgive you AGAIN? You've done the same dang thing like a dozen flipping times! Just be grateful I don't throw your a$$ in the Lion's Den!".... but I digress....) What I do know is that humankind has proven, time and again, to overcome evil with goodness and love. And that even after all the craziness in the world, after all the terror, the heartbreak, the shock, fear and pain, for the lucky ones, and that is most of us, life just kind of goes on. Sometimes with gusto.

In the days following the Boston bombing, so many people expressed to me how sorry they were that my first Boston experience was so traumatic. Honestly though, I don't see it that way. (I will admit the anxiety and heartburn issues were not so wonderful....especially since it has been six months now and I am still not fully recovered....I think I may have given myself an ulcer actually.....yay stupidity.)

In actuality, the entire experience put things back into perspective. I hadn't realized how far off I had gotten. Before the bombings, I felt remorse for my slightly slower time. I agonized over those three seconds per mile. Seriously. It is sick.

Afterwards I felt a tinge of guilt: How could I have been the least bit upset with my running performance when I walked away unscathed? How could I walk away with an inflated Boston-Qualifying ego when so many people were hurt, some now unable to walk without prosthetics? When people lost their children, their loved ones? It was a powerful and extreme reality check. One that forced me to ask, if I had been one of the unlucky ones, if those had been my last few days on earth, would I have left the legacy I want to leave? Do I even know what legacy I hope to leave behind?

It's a daunting question.

The day before we left for Boston I was expressing my worries to Liam's preschool teacher about whether or not I would get through the race. She texted me later to tell me she knew I could do it: "Just put one foot in front of the other like a gagillion times," she said, a phrase that became a mantra during the race itself. And life is kind of like that, too. How do we get through? We just have to put one foot in front of the other, like a gagillion times, until we cross the finish. But, that's not the entire story either because the question should never be can we finish (we all will, one way or another). The question is how will the world be better because we were in it? And along those lines, how will we respond to the details of the course? Who will we love? How will we live? How can we leave the world better than we found it?

Six months later, I am still searching for my own answers to those questions. As we prepare our family for our move, as we give away and sell and donate our belongings, as we choose what we will keep in our lives and what we will purge, Boston remains imbedded in my thoughts (probably because it wasn't too long ago that I registered for 2014.....you know, like I said I would NEVER do.....sheesh.....). And yet still, as I watch our large pieces of furniture and other big items leave our home to be loved by others, I find I get stuck on little details (like the picture frames I used to love but haven't had out for FIVE YEARS!) and it causes disproportionate angst. But in the midst of sorting out the details and weeding through the junk, attempting to keep my eye on the bigger picture, the questions are still loud and clear:

How can I help make the world a better place? How can I leave it better than I found it? And what can I do this very minute to set myself along that path? And then repeat those steps, like a gagillion times.....

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