"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Boston Marathon 4.15.13

For the past several days, I have deliberately refrained from posting any thoughts pertaining to Monday's bombing at the Boston Marathon. With so many writers and commentators offering such wonderfully inspiring and insightful perspectives, I felt that my contribution would simply be an obligatory response that couldn't possibly cover any new ground. Besides, the years have taught me to better reflect, allowing for time between an event and the reaction, especially when emotion is involved. Then tonight, I went for a run.

Ultimately, I have decided that this post is necessary. As running marathons has come to represent much of who I am, I simply have to respond.  But unlike other posts, this one is intended to serve mostly as a personal release and an archived entry, to be retrieved, printed and carried with me the day I finally run Boston (and yes, I will BQ before it's all over).

So the following is an attempt to convey my response and feelings. Concise (at least for me), to the point and as best I know how to think through what happened along Boylston Street around mile 26. I have come back to many of the same comments that I have shared throughout the week. Hopefully they still resonate the day I come back to them in the years to come.  I apologize in advance for the somewhat randomness of comment, but my thoughts around this are much more scattered than usual. Anway, here goes:

For all the wrong reasons, running became the central story across the country this week. The senseless violence was yet another reminder that this is a fallen world and that evil is capable of striking anywhere at anytime. We may never know why, or how, anyone can disregard and devalue human life in such a way. But hearts are hardened and without conscience or compassion, these acts are carried out.

And why Boston? Why the marathon? Maybe it was targeted because the marathon represents so many attributes that we look to celebrate and model; perseverance, dedication, hard work, charity, dreams, accomplishment, teamwork, the human spirit.  Maybe it was targeted to intentionally hurt so many that gave of their time to encourage, volunteer and give back to their community. Those that stood hour upon hour, providing the final cheers that carry runners across the line. Or maybe it was simply to create fear. The reason is really irrelevant, and regardless of motive, one thing is clear; hate was central and God's love was absent.

So what is our response? First, I think we offer prayers. There is mourning for innocent lives lost and much healing ahead for so many injured. We pray for peace.  Ours is not to always understand, ours is to accept and know that God is in control and that this world is not our home.  We pray that fear is not the lasting legacy of Monday's race.  Knowing that Christ wants us to live life to the fullest everyday, and as found in 1 Timothy 4, to hold tight to the promise of the PRESENT life and the life to come, we take each day full throttle. And realizing that all of this is exponentially more difficult for those involved than we could ever imagine, we pray for renewed spirits.

Finally, I have to admit there is a level of guilt around this tragedy that is difficult to process. On Monday, I was fully prepared to relay the results of Boston to our Run For God group that evening. I followed the elites throughout the race and prepared slides to introduce everyone to the oldest, most prestigious marathon in the country. I actually expected that I might be the only one that knew it had even taken place. Then, in a moment, everyone knew. The same activity that I have passionately pursued the past few years, and committed to for the years ahead, has been everywhere. And it feels so wrong. For all that is to love and experience with the 26.2 mile journey, I would give anything for the marathon to be back in its obscure little world, kept off the front page and of little interest to the public at large. But we can't make that happen, so we do what we do best .... we keep running. 

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