There are certain things in life that put everything else into perspective. Innocent people being killed is one of them. So you know, I had a couple drafts for this blog just about ready to go. The gist: The Red Sox are continuing to act badly vis-a-vis their blatant imperial entitlement while the Pirates continue to slog through the reality of small-market baseball. Consider them read.
But this is no time to hate on the Red Sox. Boston was just traumatized.
The Red Sox have been a century of consistency in Boston – and in all of New England, for that matter. Through thick and thin, good times and bad, you can always count on good neighborly discussion about the latest win/loss, streak/slump, home run/strike out, you name it. Through wars, floods, blizzards, scandals, and gas prices, the Red Sox have always created a buffer of safety for the people. As I’m sure is true for the favorite team of any town or region.
And then there’s the Patriot’s Day game. Patriot’s Day is an event. I have many fond memories of driving into Boston for morning baseball. If you’ve never experienced it, you must. The sun is all weird. There’s more coffee than beer in the bleachers (at least to start…). And the marathon is running by – you can actually walk to the top of the ballpark and look out over the runners a couple blocks away. I’ve gone down many times – grabbed a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee for the first inning and watched the marathon while walking back through town after the game. During that walk, I’ll inevitably tell my marathon joke: Hey, I ran the Boston Marathon today! Yeah, but I choose to run the width of it, not the length… I might have even told that stupid joke in Copley Square where the bombs exploded – the very place many people really did just run the Boston Marathon only to have their legs blown off. Or maybe they just finished 26.2 miles only to have a loved one killed right in front of them.
The world of sports is a great place to vicariously experience victory and defeat. I think sports are so popular because there are very few places in life that are as black and white as winning and losing. Real life is far more gray. But when we have an experience like yesterday it is tempting to fall back into that black and white thinking. Someone must pay, right? These were foreign terrorists whose actions must be avenged. But for every horrific video or image posted on news sites across the internet, we must remind ourselves that, as in the games we love to watch, our actions tomorrow can never truly make the memories of yesterday disappear. And in light of yesterday – if we were to even try, we would be diminishing the grief we owe to the deathly world in which we live. So it turns out, life is even more gray than before. But what can I possibly do if not rage against the injustice of it all?
Today I commit to grieving the death and pain of yesterday. And I’ll mourn the loss of safety and security we all need in our lives to fully be present to those we love. That is the true ache we feel as communities when these tragedies happen: we lose our trust and faith in each other – in humanity. Yesterday was unthinkable. But unthinkable doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t think long and hard about this world in which we live. And just then in that darkness, we read about the runners that just kept running – to give their life-affirming blood to those in critical need. Those were the people, in the face of unspeakable horror, infused the hope we must hold moving forward.
So let us never forget the true connections we have. Through our humanity, we can all come together and hold these people, their families, their town, as ours. And through our humanity we can hold our people, our families, and our town, closer to our hearts. And in this grief, let’s make sure that, today, we’re the people who keep running to give life to those that need us the most.
My memories of Patriot’s Day in Boston may have just been dragged through the dark horror of human hatred, and for that I should never be the same. But how can I bring something that truly counters these acts of violence to the world today? Maybe it starts by shutting up about everything that’s wrong with the world. And maybe it continues by offering myself to those in would most benefit from my life-affirming love.
With that I’ll wrap this up and go home to my daughters.