Turns out that the last time I blogged was the day after the El Paso Marathon. That day, there were so many feelings. There was so much joy, so many champagne toasts, so many “can you believe I just did that?”, and there was so much physical pain and exhaustion. But, more than any of those feelings, that day was marked with anticipation…dreaming with Doug and my family about what it would be like to be in the Boston Marathon in 2014. To be among the best runners in the whole world at the starting line of the most famous marathon. I could not even imagine what that would feel like. I imagined going to the expo and spending our kids’ college savings on Boston Marathon paraphernalia. I imagined starting the race and looking around me, looking for a new or an old friend…someone to swap stories with and congratulate. I imagined the hundreds of people that would be there offering crowd support. And of course, I imagined crossing that finish line and feeling like maybe I had accomplished the greatest athletic feat known to man. And the crowds would go wild while chanting my name. Extreme, I know. But, this is my imagination.
The truth is that this imagination – or some version of it – was shared with thousands of runners today. Thousands of people had worked harder than they had ever worked for anything else in their whole lives. And they had arrived in Boston to celebrate. It was supposed to be a day of triumph and celebration. And it turned into a day of terror and devastation.
I just turned off the news. I can’t handle it any longer. It has paralyzed me today. The reports of the panic and confusion are heartbreaking. The innocent lives taken because of one stupid, senseless act. I cannot handle it.
I know that there is so much devastation in our world today. And that moments like this happen so very often without the media coverage that we have seen today. But today, this one hits home. I got countless phone calls and texts from family and friends concerned that we had gone to Boston this year. As I responded, the hypotheticals started rolling through my head…
What if we had been there?
Would I have already crossed the finish line?
We have been offered grandstand finish area tickets…would Doug have been sitting where the bomb went off?
We have planned to spend a week after the marathon vacationing in Boston…would we have decided to come home early so we can hold our babies?
Would I have had the strength to give blood after finishing 26.2 miles like so many brave runners did?
We could have easily been there. But, thankfully, we weren’t. And as I thank God for that, I am also begging God for clarity tonight. Remind me, why do things like this happen? You can stop it, if you want to, right? So, why wouldn’t you want to?
And I don’t know the answers to those questions. I mean, I do believe that God is completely sovereign. And that yes, He could have stopped today’s events had He chosen to. But, no, I don’t know why He didn’t. So, instead of asking the question “why?”, I am instead choosing to thank God for sparing me, my family and all of those in Boston today that have survived. And asking God to give me enough grace tomorrow to live as if it is my last. To live in complete surrender to a merciful and sovereign God. To live as if I deserve nothing, and I have earned nothing, but every single thing, even this breath that I am breathing right now is a gift from a loving God. And with every little seed of doubt and despair, that it would be followed by an ounce of faith. And at the end of the day, my soul will cry out “Marantha! Come Lord Jesus.” Because this world…it’s too much.
My deepest sympathies to the families of those affected today. May God bring you peace and healing.