April 16, 2013
I don’t much like to run. I ran on the Alexander Hamilton Junior High Cross Country team and the track team. I enjoyed cross-country running much more than track running. Cross-country running gets you out and about, up and over, down and around. There are different routes and different settings, each providing the participant with different challenges and vistas. But all in all, I’d rather walk them, not run them. These days I find 5K walk/runs to participate in. I am working towards a 10K walk/run and I improve my time a little bit each official event. I’m even getting a bit of “running” in each event. But, my favorite is still a very long walk with my dog Dietrich.
Walk or run, road or path, going for time or for distance, alone or at a major event: there is something very raw, earthy and centering about getting your body outdoors and moving. This is what hit the bottom of my gut and will not leave since seeing the news reports on the screens in the Chicago-O’Hare Airport as I tried to move quickly from one flight to another on my way home after a week of internal work and long walks—the violent, painful interruption of what is the oldest event in the United States celebrating raw, earthy connection of body, mind and spirit. Those dear Boston runners were just being who God had called them to be-moving beings vulnerable to each other, the earth and their own bodies. Isn’t this exactly what I just spent a week focused on: How will I open my life patterns in order to walk a great distance and challenge my mind, body and soul to be all God who have me be?
And now, violence has struck. Many of those moving bodies have been stopped, injured by an unexpected, ugly force. What to make of it? What to do? Here’s what I know: whatever the motivation of the person(s) responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing is, it will not work. The message that the bombs carried will not hit home, will not change me. I will keep walking (occasionally run), because that is what my God made me to do. I will not celebrate the message of the bomber. I will celebrate Dick and Rick Hoyt, a father and his wheelchair-bound son who move as a team through marathon after marathon. I will celebrate Lelsia Desisa from Ethiopia and Rita Jeptoo of Kenya who each crossed the 2013 marathon first (male and female “winners”). I will celebrate the life and witness of Matt Myers come this October’s Matt’s Run. I will celebrate the Boston Marathon runners who will return next year to overcome the evil. I will celebrate Mr Rogers mother who told him (and all of us) that when disaster strikes we are to look for the helpers because there are always helpers. I will celebrate the helpers.
I will walk (and occasionally run). I will challenge my body, mind and spirit to be all God would have me be. I will challenge others to do the same. I will walk with God, for as a parishioner reminded me just hours before the Boston Marathon bombings: “Those who walk with God always reach their destination.”