Boston, You’re My Home
There’s a blood red circle
On the cold dark ground
And the rain is falling down…
My city’s in ruins…
Bruce Springsteen, “My City Of Ruins”
This hits home. Literally.
Boston is not where I have chosen to live, but it is where I grew up (a suburb 10 miles north). My family collects around the TV during holiday parties if the Red Sox, Bruins, or Patriots are playing. I carried my Boston accent to college with me, gradually leaving it behind as my new friends laughed at my calculus answer of “x squay-uhd.”
On top of this, I am a runner. I’ve run three half-marathons, and my husband has run four marathons. Runners are good people. They cheer for each other; they push each other to be better, faster, stronger. Distance races are big love fests for spectators and participants. There is no room for haters.
On Monday I checked in with a dear friend who lives 2 blocks from the marathon finish line, and with my cousin who was spectating at her first Marathon Monday. Both were fine. My sister-in-law ran her marathon there three years ago, and thankfully crossed it off her bucket list.
Then I found out that the 8-year-old who died–Martin Richard–was my high school friend Josh’s nephew.
I think about my own niece and nephew. My cousin, who could have been at the finish line. My high school pre-calculus teacher, who designed the finish line chutes the marathon used to use, and spent decades working that stretch of Boylston. Josh works as a cameraman for a New England sports network, and has filmed the finish line many times–he didn’t happen to be working that day. My brother and other cousin, police officers who would have rushed toward the explosion because that’s what they’re trained to do in emergencies.
Even as my parents are visiting and the kids are having a wonderful vacation with their grandparents, even as we play outside in the sunshine, I cannot stop thinking about Boston.
Just like the shootings in Seattle last year, the shootings in Newtown, the attempted bombing of the MLK parade in Spokane last year…these things can happen anywhere at any time.
Light can, and does, overcome darkness. Goodness can, and does, overcome evil.
We need to cultivate such qualities in ourselves. We need to look closely at our own prejudices, our own bad habits, our own failings and weaknesses. It is not enough to return to ourselves as we were before.
We must be better than we were before. More open. More loving. More understanding. More honorable. More determined to achieve justice. More allied against fear and evil.
We need to be “Boston Strong.”
Now with these hands
I pray Lord
with these hands
for the strength Lord
with these hands
for the faith Lord…
Come on, rise up!
–Bruce Springsteen, “My City Of Ruins”