When I lived in Jamaica Plain, I had two running routes: one through the Arboretum and one several times around the pond. Once, as I ran around the pond, a man came next to me and kept pace. He was in town from Africa, completing his training for the Boston Marathon. He liked the way I kept my slow pace and so we jogged side by side for a while and chatted until he got to the point where his body needed to go forward. He said good bye and ran ahead and I watched him go.
Long a runner, I’ve never run a marathon. In fact, one of my dreams has been to run The Boston Marathon. None other than this one. During all my years living in the city of Boston, I watched from the sidelines. I cheered for the runners. I felt a kinship with those around me as we celebrated the accomplishments of those who started and finished (and even those who just started and didn’t finish) the race.
You didn’t have to know a runner personally to feel the swell of pride through the crowd as each person crossed the finish line. You would marvel at the capacity of the human body to rise above pain and fatigue. You would marvel at the strength of the human spirit.
A marathon is about what we can overcome and not about what breaks us. It is about how strong we are and not about how vulnerable. It is about heart.
In truth, I’m not committed enough to running to likely ever make it into the race, but even if my body never makes it into the Boston Marathon, my mind will forever run alongside my brothers and sisters, coming from all over the world to run this race and become one body pushing forward.
They become one. One body. One blood. Runners and spectators. Loved ones and acquaintances. Strangers on the street, exchanging breath.
When they bleed, so do we all. And because of them, we keep pace with each other in fellowship.
To those who are hurting, my heart is with you. Peace to us all.