Between the well meaning
When the good will come out
And start the healing
You won't know
How well you've played
Until you've won
And if at first you find
You can't imagine
How good can heal
When you've got nothing worth healing
You won't know
How well you're made
Until you're done”
- The Good Will Out, Embrace
*** *** ***
I don’t want to write right now. I want to be on my couch watching something non-Boston Marathon related; or lying down attempting to fall asleep reading, only to find upon waking up the book bent backwards beneath me; and I want to be drinking something alcoholic while I do any of these.
But instead I’m writing. Because my brain won’t shut off. Because I feel compelled to try to write some kind of decency and humanity and kindness into the world.
Today, two horrific explosions happened in Boston, two blocks away from my office building, at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, one of my favorite events, in front of thousands of innocent, happy, cheering, supportive people. A close friend, who also happens to be a runner, wrote me, “I feel a stronger desire to run than I have in a while, maybe to center myself, maybe in defiance.” Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, in reaction to the former director literally trying to drag her out of the race at mile 5 famously said, “I could feel my anger dissipating as the miles went by — you can’t run and stay mad!”
These may seem like runner-centric quotes...and they are. But to me they represent more: our inherent strength and perseverance as humans. People train eight months just to finish a marathon to prove their own strength to themselves and nothing more. To the “human insect or poisonous mass of broken sociopaths" (to quote Patton Oswalt) who orchestrated this, by choosing an event that is inherently inspiring to show your depravity and abject fear of humanity, you already lost. Goodness and decency always win out. People ran to the destructed areas to help those who were fallen; strangers and spectators dragged runners and fellow humans to safety; stranded runners and family are staying in homes of people who are acquaintances of acquaintances of friends. The Red Cross’ web site crashed because of an outpouring of donations and people wanting to contribute.
Yes, today was horrific, especially for those who were witness to it all. And there will be fears, anxieties, and traumas that may take years to unfold and recover from. But if nothing else, let today also be a reminder of the compassion and humanity and perseverance that we all have.
There is a lot of good in the world.