Tragedies tend to leave me speechless. Not in the way that I cannot find the words, not in the way that I do not wish to feel them. This silence is more of a healing mechanism, an antidote to the stream of pain, grief, hate, and noise coming in from all directions. I admire the helpers and doers, although I know it is a coping mechanism for them as well. I do not understand the haters who post vile, insensitive comments and push their political agendas under the photos of dead children. Maybe I am not strong enough and too sensitive because all I feel is a profound sadness that makes me want to fold into myself and stay very still until I can once again feel hopeful for all of us humans.
As I have written here many times, I have never felt a greater outpouring of love and hopefulness than during a marathon. I remember every kid I high-fived, every voice that shouted my name, every home-made sign, every volunteer, the nuns ringing their bells on the church steps, the strawberry lady, and my fellow runners. And that is why watching the footage from Boston is particularly hard, because it was mostly the spectators who got hurt. They are not strangers, they are the people who carry us along those hard miles. They are not there for the medals, personal records, bragging rights or self-validation; they are there for us.
I know everything will be different now, and we are yet to find out how much impact this will have on future races. But I also know that when words fail, actions speak louder. So I am going to run. I am going to run for the kids, for the strawberry lady, for the tissue-holders and the high-fivers, the cheerleading screamers and funny sign makers. I am going to run to thank them for showing me what love and hope look like.