Monday, April 15, 2013

A Boston Tragedy

Most of you have been glued to television sets or social media outlets, hearing the hundreds of updates and stories coming through with the Boston Marathon tragedy pour in.

Immediately my heart sank as I read via Facebook a few short words: Boston Marathon. Explosions.

The Boston Marathon is a celebration. It's the only one of its kind - almost all of the runners must qualify with (super fast) times to participate. If they don't, they are most likely participating as a runner who raises thousands of dollars for a charity. It falls on Patriot's Day in Boston and the city makes a holiday of it, shutting down most businesses as residents become some of the race participants' biggest cheerleaders.

Celebration quickly turned to tragedy this afternoon. And now we - as Americans, as runners, as marathoners, as race coordinators, as mamas and daddies - flood ourselves with mixed emotions: fear, anger, hurt, ache, the list goes on and on.

I couldn't take the images or the reporting any longer. And so I did what came naturally to me - I prayed to our mighty Father, whose heart can only be breaking as He sees his creation in such turmoil amongst each other - and hit the pavement with my sweet babies in the BOB. 

You see, that's why so many of us love running. There's freedom, not fear. And, despite our level of ability, we runners stick together and find ourselves loving and supporting each other, like family.

But now, I can't help but have a twinge of fear - and feel that that the sweet freedom of running is no longer a sweet freedom. Anyone else feel like this?

As a runner and one who is currently training for my 3rd marathon, the Cleveland Marathon that takes place in five short weeks, I can't help but flood my mind with a wave of questions - questions and instances that I've never had to think about before: How safe is the course going to be? Should I be more aware of my surroundings when running the race - of those spectators and fellow runners around me? Should I even ask my husband and children to join me at the start line, at various spectator spots, or even at the popular festivities that come with the finish line? Should I even go and forego 20 weeks of training and several months of planning a family vacation? Am I going to think this way with every.single.race I participate in from now on?

As a race coordinator, similar questions flood my mind: How can we make our participants feel safe in our events? What can we do with area police officers and other emergency crews to make sure we're covered? How can we prepare volunteers and our participants? How can we continue making lasting memories for our participants, spectators, and volunteers?

Lots of questions.

Questions that now we as Americans, as runners, as marathoners, as race coordinators, as mamas and daddies, must now take into consideration as we surge ahead.

Pray for Boston. Pray for the participants, the volunteers, the race director and staff, the medic teams, the police, the brave men and women who stepped in to action. Pray for the families and friends directly affected by this tragedy.

But most of all, pray for our nation. Because we need Jesus. And it's getting more and more evident each and every minute, hour, and day that we live.

Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

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