Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Running On

I keep thinking about what it must have been like yesterday for the Boston marathoners as they crossed the finish line; so proud, happy, and exhausted, having trained months or years for the event, and then at the very apex of their achievement, this horror. Unthinkable. Madness.

On April 14th I posted about "the Extreme Knitting Redhead" Susie Hewer and how she knits during marathons to get publicity for her Alzheimers' research fundraising efforts. The London Marathon will be taking place on April 21 as scheduled, and Hewer, who will be running in it, writes on her blog that she suspects there will be a lot of black armbands worn at the event. This seems like as good as any a way to deal with what happened: to acknowledge the gravity of what happened, and to carry on with the good and worthwhile things we need to do.

The words of (sweatered) children's television host Fred Rogers have been widely circulated on the net: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” And it's useful advice that can help those who weren't directly affected to process what happened. We don't yet know who is responsible for the bombing yesterday, but we know that as soon as the bombs went off hundreds of race volunteers rushed towards the site of the explosion to help the injured, never giving a thought to their own safety even though there could have been — and were — other and unexploded bombs in the area. We know many marathoners left the race to lend a hand, or to donate blood, at a time when they were probably already exhausted. There were runners being treated for dehydration in the first aid tents who ripped out their IVs and left their cots to make room for the injured. We know the authorities had to broadcast a public request that people not to come to the area to help because there were so many responders there already. And I'm sure that there will be a general outpouring of support that will continue for quite some time.

There were perhaps at most few dozen bombers directly involved in orchestrating this insane and cruel act of destruction, but there are millions of people who are grieved and anxious to help those who were injured or bereaved. Horrible things like this happen far too regularly in this world, and it's important for us all to remember as we move forward from them that there's much more good in this world than bad, and to just keep doing our best in our various ways to add to that sum total of good.

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