And while I was not running in Boston at the time of the bombings, the news affected me on a personal level. I didn’t even know anyone running and was grateful those I knew who did have someone running received good news later that day. And while I was glued to the footage for a while, I eventually had to turn it off. I kept thinking how if I HAD been running that day, my husband would have been somewhere at that finish line waiting for me. And, because I’m slow, I would have been stopped somewhere on that course. With no idea how to get to my husband. With no idea if he was okay or not. And then I would have had to find my way back to him in a foreign city.
A few weekends before Boston, I had run a local 47 mile relay, and for many miles I had been out on the course…alone. And at the time, all I wanted was to find the next drop point so I could reunite with my crew. And while I live in a much smaller city, there is still a chance a local crazy could have done the same thing here. It chills me to the bone.
I’ve only been running for 6 years, but along the way I have found the running community is one of the greatest communities you could ever become a part of. Whatever age, ability, ethnicity or sex, they support us all. There is nothing better than to be rounding the corner to the finish line at your slowest time ever and have the runners who finished minutes ahead of you still standing there, cheering you to the end.
Unbeknown to them, the Boston bombers targeted one of the greatest groups of people on the planet. And that sucks. But what they also didn’t know is, they targeted one of the STRONGEST groups of people. A group who already knows how to deal with pain and suffering. Who already knows how to stay strong. Who already knows how to pull through to the other side.
The bombers had no idea this horrible act of hate and destruction would only make this group of people stronger and more determined. The races will go on much like they did in my area this weekend, and the runners will continue on with a vengeance.
I’m still sad. I’m still a little broken. And I still grieve for those who lost their lives and for those who were wounded. But today as I ran my 3 miles, I also celebrated the fact that here in America, we still know how to stand strong in the face of terror.
The husband and I are out grocery shopping a few Saturdays ago in the day-before-Easter madness. After negotiating the packed aisles of parents searching for candy and toys and dessert fixings, we find ourselves waiting in a reasonably short line.
While I’m too far back to hear the conversation, the gal working the checkout seems chatty. And I think great…I hate chatty. I usually avoid chatty at all costs. But the line is short and moving fast, so we stay put. Then it’s our turn and I’m the one who has all the recyclable bags to hand to the check out gal, so of course chatty hits me up.
But as she starts chatting, I realize her’s is a story I don’t mind hearing.
She is fairly young….maybe early 30s. And she is working her 6th day in a row. Checking out grocery shoppers. She normally gets to sleep in on Saturdays, but she volunteered for an extra shift because next month her daughter turns 13. And she wants some extra money so her birthday can be great.
Her husband had to work that morning too. He runs a fertilizer truck and with all the moisture from the recent snow, there is fertilizing work to do. But she’s just happy he has work. Last year was so dry he hardly worked. Which meant a small Xmas bonus. She prefers big Xmas bonuses…because they just make Xmas so much better.
Her husband makes three times what she does but she’s okay with that. She works AND takes care of the house. Some days her husband works 15 hours and comes home and falls asleep in his chair. But she lets him…she can’t imagine doing that much work.
She used her income tax return to pay off some debt. She hopes to be debt free by next year.
Her story is tough and sad.
But as she stands there working and telling me her story, she also tells me how she can’t wait to get off work. Because tomorrow is Easter. And Easter has her excited. She’s excited for cakes and food and family. She is happy…after 6 days of working a crap job. After a week of working and also taking care of the house and her husband.
Ironically, I am listening to this story while standing in a town about 45 miles from one of the richest counties in America. I can’t help but stand there and think this woman is probably happier than any of those people out there in the land of Range Rovers and Prada bags who are NOT working on Saturday. Who are probably out spending more money than they have. Who are not worried about their debt even a little bit.
And I can’t help but think maybe more of us should take a lesson from this woman’s playbook.