Something was wrong. I poured soap into my coffee cup and frying pan before dousing them with steaming water and scrubbing them clean. I walked into the living room and folded the fleece blanket I’d left strewn across the couch the night before. I went through the mail.
Putting things in order usually relaxes me; not today. I could feel my running shoes staring me down, but I just couldn’t lace them up yet because of the bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15 that killed three people and left more than 170 people injured. I realized I felt anxious because of this – the same feeling I had after the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, and more recently, the Sikh Temple shooting in Oak Creek Aug. 5, 2012, and a couple months later, the Azana Salon & Spa shooting in Brookfield on Oct. 21.
These moments make losing hope and giving into worrying very easy.
But after talking with fellow employees, my boyfriend and family, listening to news reports and reading Facebook posts, I realized I was looking at this situation wrong.
Even Saucony, my favorite running shoe brand, sent out a message that pointed me in the right direction: “Our hearts and prayers go out to each person affected by this tragedy, from every life senselessly lost to those injured and their families. As we mourn, we are inspired and humbled by all those who ran in to help, who opened their arms, who gave blood and offered prayers. Every marathon is a testament to how people are able to overcome the most difficult odds, finding the best in themselves and each other. As a community of runners we are all united in our support of Boston. Together we will recover, together we will run on.”
So, I shared it on my Facebook timeline, and texted it.
I had forgotten for a moment the faith that helps me cope with tragedies and recover from events that make me feel like life is spinning out of control.
“We need to keep close to God,” Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki wrote in his “Love One Another” communique, the day after the bombings. “The events at the Boston Marathon emphasize the fact that life can change in an instant. Our prayers turn to the victims and their families as they struggle to reconstruct their lives after this tragedy. Terrorism is a senseless act of violence. Our society will attempt to seek reasons and look for answers. There is an answer that people of faith are given and that is to respect and LOVE ONE ANOTHER.”
I can’t imagine trying to make sense of bad things like this and living a life without faith or religion like an increasing number of young adults today are – A Pew Research Study found that one-third of U.S. adults under age 30 are religiously unaffiliated and reject what I rely on as a source of comfort and hope in the human race. I spoke to some of these young adults who have different views on religion – read how faith does or doesn’t play a role in their lives on Pages 6 and 7.
So, Wednesday morning I put on my shoes with a refreshed perspective and ran 7 miles, feeling connected to a much larger family of runners across the world. I felt stronger with each stride, pushing harder than ever up the hills, going farther than I planned. I ran for the victims of the horrible tragedy, and I ran for me.
Running was my prayer that day, because I had to do it for everyone who couldn’t. Faith will once again help us all recover together. I think I found a new mantra: “Together we will recover, together we will run on.”