The Right Place

My heart is breaking for Boston.  Now that the smoke has settled and the initial shock has left us numb, the news is introducing us to personal stories of devastating loss and inspirational heroism. Like most Americans, I am particularly saddened about the death of 8 year old Martin Richard.  He was just a boy.  Just a boy.

What gets me about these horrific tragedies is that the victims are always in the RIGHT place. In the past 18 hours I’ve heard so many lamentations “He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”  No, actually little Martin was in the absolute right place: on an energetic sidewalk on a sunny April afternoon…next to his mother and sister…cheering on his dad.  They were doing what good families do. And now he is dead.

That is not fair.  It’s just not fair.

I have run three marathons.  The first one was a tremendous personal achievement. I will forever remember approaching the finish line in downtown Chicago, my runner’s high at an absolute maximum as tears welled and my chest swelled.  It was awesome! I was supposed to run my second marathon with Chris (who was my boyfriend at the time), but he was deployed to Fallujah, Iraq three months earlier. On the morning of the race a Chinook helicopter crashed near Fallujah, killing 15 U.S. soldiers. I raced through the course like a zombie, not knowing if Chris was dead or alive.  But never once did I think I could have been a target as I ran through New York City’s streets.

At any marathon, thousands of runners are supported by thousands of strangers (I wrote about this very topic here). It is an uplifting event full of good will and kindness and encouragement; there is no sense of danger because there is no sense of evil.  Despite yesterday’s tragedy, I must remember that there are so many good people in the world – the streets of Boston were lined with many of them yesterday. I take small comfort in knowing that at any given tragedy the RIGHT people will step in to make things RIGHT again. Fear shouldn’t stop us from being in the RIGHT place at any given time.

Good will triumph.

P.S. Chris and I eventually ran our marathon together the year after he returned from Iraq.

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1 Comment for this entry

  1. Mary Smithe says:

    I will never forget the joy and pride of meeting you at 3 finish lines. My heart breaks for all too.

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