I am grappling with this post on moments of growth or turning points. I believe that people can change. I believe in the power of making a decision, of striving to reach a goal. Of the value of working toward something, whether or not we happen to make it there or not. All of this is pretty much my philosophy of life. Go for it. Rah rah.
And yet there are times, like what happened yesterday in Boston, when everything I believe about the world comes into question. How can I, how can any of us, imagine that we are in control of anything we do? That our dreams are worth pursuing when any moment a random horror can literally knock us off our feet?
How do you go on in the face of this kind of evil?
The tragedy, in many ways, is that we do go on.
This unbelievably horrible thing happens and for a few beats we feel the shock of it. Then we take stock. I am not there, thank God. This is not happening to me. But wait, do I know anyone there? My son, away at college? Family members who run races? Friends I went to school with? Has this Thing touched anyone I know?
Another beat. Immense relief. And here you want to fall to your knees and give thanks to luck--to fate--to chance.
Another beat. You absorb every awful detail. Listen to stories. View terrible images you wish you could unsee.
You move on.
There is a stupid cliche' about how this is what we have to do or else the terrorists win. I don't think the terrorists care one way or another about any of us. Sick people that are so cut off from their own humanity can't imagine how other humans are affected by their evil actions.
But what are we to do then? Besides falling on our knees and alternately mourning for each other and crying in gratitude about our own safety? Call all of our loved ones home and crawl into our basements or closets? Keep ourselves safe that way?
Who the hell knows.
Running a marathon is in many ways the ultimate symbol of pursuing a dream. You run, you run, you run--every day--slapping one foot down in front of the other--striving to move faster, to win, or to simply complete the course.