Comebacks: Lessons From The Boston Marathon

A conflicted happy-sad feeling welled up in me as I drove to church this Easter Sunday. I was listening to NPR recount comeback stories from the 2013 Boston Marathon. Thousands of human beings racing back toward the scene of one of the most horrific days in their lives.

I was particularly touched by the 2013 First Responders running their first marathon tomorrow. The Boston Athletic Association had expanded their definition of what it means to qualify to run Boston along with more bibs to accommodate those with a strong need for closure and sense making.

As I turned the corner, I saw the colorful explosion of glorious He Is Risen balloons tied to every tree, parking meter, and sign in our town, a sunrise offering by the youth of a neighboring church. That scene always makes me feel like God just can’t hold back. On this particular morning a smiling runner had grabbed up a handful of those balloons and was running down the street.

I shot him an energetic “YES”! The kind you can’t hear, but you both feel deeply.

YES.. we must show up again even when it scares us.

YES… we must find strength through fear.

YES… we must keep running.

I thought of the running:

  • I did when I was overcoming a divorce
  • I was doing when I fell in love with my now husband as we both ran the Dublin Marathon.
  • I had done so to qualify for the Boston Marathon, and the people who were there to watch.
  • That had led our children to support us at many finish lines over the years, “It will only be a few hours”
  • .

What The Boston Marathon Has Become

The Boston Marathon has always been a beacon, a hill, a journey for which runners yearn to be a part. “If only I could qualify for Boston.” An individual aspiration.

Now it’s about coming back strong. A community working together to overcome fear to show the bad guys we’re not afraid to come back. A metaphor for my work ahead. Your work ahead. Our work ahead.

Sure we’re scared. Bad things do happened that don’t make sense. What if? Or what if they? What if I’m not strong enough to come back?

There’s power in YES.

Most of our stories are not as dramatic as those experienced by the survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing, but we all have comebacks which are worthy of lacing up our shoes, picking up a balloon, and taking the first step.

To what (or whom) does your heart want to say YES!