I went for a run this morning. I promised myself I would run from Mile 18 to Mile 19 for all those that ran 25.2 last year.
I ran that mile for personal reasons - mile 18 water stop was my station the last 5 marathons. I like 18 because from mile 17-19 are pretty sparse when it comes to cheering crowds. Sure there are folks there, but not like the thundering throngs of folks at the fire station, Newton City Hall or BC. It's a lonely stretch and I took my job of taking care of the runners intensely seriously.
My job: rake up the cups before the Comm Ave turns into a slippery paper maiche carpet.
So running from 18 to 19 was important to me. It's where I would walk runners to the med tents who were hurting. It's where I would walk along with people to keep their spirits up as they faced the worst of the hills coming up over the next couple of miles. I thought of all the people I walked through there last year and wanted to run strong for them.
Stupid, but there it is.
I listened to Flogging Molly this morning as I did my run and the selection along Comm Ave was interesting. As I came up on 18, "The Sun Never Shines (on Closed Doors)" came on. I looked at the daffodils starting to bloom at that point and smiled. I remember this road during hurricane force winds, it was nasty but Boston runs no matter what - hurricane? Pshaw! These folks were training in blizzards six weeks earlier. We're Bostonians.
It was followed by "May the Living Be Dead (in Our Wake)." Wow, that was little close to home today. We are left in the wake of those that went to watch a marathon, the triumph of human spirit. They weren't even watching the Kenyans, they were watching the normal folks that were out in the snow and rain and Boston weather for the past four months. There were no special trainers, no prize money, just people who raised money for others and those that took up the gauntlet to show they could. It's up to us to show why we deserved to be left in the wake of those smiling faces that are now just memories.
As I came up on Newton City Hall, "The Worst Day Since Yesterday" came on. I flashed on Sean Collyer, a kid who showed up to do his job and lost his life. I know MIT and Harvard cops are sworn Cambridge Police Officers (did you know that?), but I don't think even he would have expected to leave this world that way.
Finally I stood and turned off my music to look at the statue of Johnny Kelley. The daffodils planted last fall are blooming, the ray of sunshine in the gloomy morning. The old standard "Rare Old Times" came on as I ran back up Comm Ave. The line "Dublin keeps on changing, nothing stays the same," struck me. I've heard that song countless times, but it's true. Boston has changed, it can't say the same, nor should it.
So moving forward, I think I will try to honor Adrianne Haslet-Davis's request: stop talking about the bombers and talk about the heroes. Talk about the people who pulled together to make the phrase "Boston Strong" more than a couple of words scratched into the cleats of a member of the Red Sox. Maybe if we talk about the heroes, when someone wants to be on the news it will be for doing something good, something worth reporting and not something that rips us apart.
So let's start being heroes. Today, commit a random act of kindness. Do it tomorrow to and, if you have it in you, the day after as well and keep doing it as long as you can. Maybe one day, when you need the most, someone will do that for you. Maybe not. Heroes don't do it for the payback, they do it because that's what we should do. Maybe, just maybe, if we keep lighting the light of kindness, we can hold back the darkness evil needs to thrive.