Monday, April 22, 2013
It was back in December 2012 that I first declared “Game On!” and began the arduous eighteen-week training for the 117th Boston Marathon. On Valentine’s Day, I reflected on my love of chocolate and running and posted a video on why I was training in March. In the final days before the race, I challenged readers to go after their dreams and drew inspiration and strength from Team Hoyt.
Neither I, nor anyone, could imagine the horror and heartbreak that awaited runners and spectators on sunny Boylston Street just one week ago.
Beyond the Finish Line
I was slowly working my way through the finishers’ area a couple of blocks away when the bombs exploded. Seconds later, throngs of marathoners and volunteers began sprinting down the street, screaming “There’s a bomb! Run!,” I caught among them. After a few streets of distance, a kind stranger loaned me her phone and I connected successfully with my husband, who had been wending his way to meet me. We later learned, as did you, of the three killed and hundreds wounded on Marathon Monday. The week’s nightmare continued into Friday, impacting additional lives, leaving Boston breathless.
It’s been a blurry week and, after a harrowing set of days, I am slowly returning to life as I know it. Though many writers have turned to pen to process the events, I’ve been reluctant to do so, still today, given my blog is generally focused on food. Even so, my regular readers and those who know me personally are well aware of my penchant for waxing philosophic upon matters of the heart, often including theater references like today’s title from Les Misérables.
Yet there are so many relevant quotes, songs, and speeches; how can one possibly choose which are the most apropos? How can any ever be enough? And haven’t those words already been spoken, the songs already sung, by orators and performers far more gifted than I?
Nevertheless, I’m not quite ready to return to the topics I usually address—what to eat, and why it matters—Earth Day notwithstanding. As I’ve shared with you my experience from the beginning, today I pause one last time to gather my thoughts in this final chapter of my Boston Marathon 2013 journey.
Love is All
I ran the marathon as a celebration of life and love and was lucky to be among those who made it safely to both the starting and finishing line. Beloved family members awaited my safe return at home; blessedly, they had decided not to meet me in Copley Square. My gratitude is profound, not only for all of that but for the many people who supported my run with generous financial gifts to help make a difference in the lives of cancer patients and the quest for a cure.
As the week progressed, I like others worked to process the evil that was upon us, in our city, our neighborhoods. As terrifying as the events were, what made the experience much more difficult for me was witnessing the vitriol spewing from so many corners, rooted in fear, darkness, and hatred. Saddened deeply by the story of a Muslim woman attacked while out strolling with her child in a Boston suburb and other similar events coupled with status updates on Facebook and Twitter strewn with ignorance, vengeance, and violence, I tuned out to the degree possible. Late in the week, I finally added my own sentiments to the social media mix, stating “Love is the antidote to evil. Love is all,” paraphrasing the central tenets of many of the world’s religions and sentiments shared among philosophers and poets alike.
To love amidst hatred is certainly a challenge.Yet the highest honor we can give to those suffering and lost is to grasp tightly the wise words of slain eight-year-old Martin Richard, “No more hurting people. Peace.” while also remembering the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Love is All.
And Life Goes On
Seven long days later, I continue to ponder these happenings, and my own good fortune. How can writing about food or posting a cooking video seem even remotely important, all things considered?
A rhetorical question, I suppose, because the simple truth is that for those who endure on earth another day, life goes on.
But what we who remain do have is another opportunity to consider our lives, our gifts, the time we have been given, and how we might use these to somehow make a difference, create a positive impact on a world overflowing with sorrow and anger.
For me, that will mean a return to writing, tweeting, blogging, and teaching about food in word and deed, on paper and in the kitchen, hoping it makes you, and our planet, just a little bit better.
My heart, full of love.
“Every time you wake up and ask yourself, ‘What good things am I going to do today?,’ remember that when the sun goes down at sunset, it takes a part of your life with it.” (Indian Proverb)