Reflections on Tragedy

There are a lot of posts swirling around in my head right now – travel recaps, meal plans, recipe ideas. But as a runner and in the wake of Boston, I’m going put them briefly on hold.

I’m not sure what great reflections can be had for something so senseless as yesterday’s tragedy. As a runner, it was devastating and scary. As a human, it was both horrifying to consider that someone would orchestrate an attack and uplifting to see how the Boston and running community came together in the aftermath. As tragedies tend to do, have made me hug my loved ones a little tighter and consider how I’m moving my life forward. 

Having run one marathon and going into the next in only a few months, I can attest to the sense of camaraderie, celebration, and community that races create. I honestly don’t love to run, but I love to race; not because I’m fast and want to win, but because I’ve never felt more energized than when I’m running out of the gate or getting cheered by spectators or crossing the finish line of a race, any race. I have also found myself welling up with pride and tears being a spectator at races – even for people I don’t know. I recently cheered on my 8 year old nephew at his first 5k; I almost burst with happiness when he crossed the finish line. Races are places where runners and non-runners alike come together to celebrate dedication and persistence. My heart aches for those who lost that sense of community and celebration yesterday; really, my heart just aches.  

This morning on our run, Alex and I didn’t talk much. We didn’t see too many other runners, either. Maybe people were taking a few extra minutes in bed with their cat, their loved ones, or a book and a cup of tea. In light of tragic events, I always feel a push pull – the push to get out and do something and make a difference and the desire to pull back and retreat and breathe deeply for just another minute. Today, I chose running because I figured that’s what runners do – we run. We get out there and put one foot in front of the other. I have no doubt that Boston and the running community will come out of this stronger than ever before. 

I’m also feeling the need to acknowledge that tragedies, both in this country and around the world, happen every day. Big and small, publicly and privately, people are suffering violence and hate. What happened in Boston is a manifestation that should shake us to attention. It has made me ask myself, “how am I contributing to the world I want to live in?” “What could I be doing to inadvertently perpetuate inequality, hate, and injustice?” These are hard questions with complicated answers that deserve to be considered by all of us. When things are happening outside of our realm of experience – in another city, another state, another country – we tend to be able to shake them off. I wish this had never happened, but I hope that because it has, we will use it as a time to reflect deeply and seriously on the role we have to play in changing this world. 


This was long and rambly and maybe doesn’t make a lot of sense. But I wanted to acknowledge this and send my love and prayers to everyone in Boston and everyone everywhere whose lives are affected by violence. I wanted to say that I know we can make a difference if we try, so let’s put one foot in front of the other and start trying. 


2 thoughts on “Reflections on Tragedy

  1. I couldn’t agree more, and I am so glad you went for a run this morning. I will be there cheering you on at your marathon and wouldn’t miss it!

  2. Pingback: Repost: Reflections on Tragedy | Moving On Up

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