A good friend of mine, Susan Tyler, organized a 5k run as a Tribute to the Boston victims. Right away I knew I wanted to be a part of it and when she told me that some of the actual Boston Marathon runners were going to be in attendance, I was even more thrilled and honestly intrigued. My psychological wheels began turning and I looked forward to meeting them, inquiring about their unique perspective of the horrible events that took place, and simply getting to know and join them in a run they were so blessed to participate in.
Although Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, and Lu Lingzi were not here to tell their story, Bryan, a Boston Marathon runner and his wife, Christine were.
When I saw Bryan, donning his marathon attire and sporting a well-deserved medal, I immediately walked over to him to offer him congratulations—for completing the race and surviving the day. I asked him where he was at the time of the bombings and if/how the experience changed him in any way. He humbly smiled, and said, “Thankfully I had finished the race and was back at the hotel, but my wife has a story, ask her about her experience.” I then turned to his wife, Christine, and asked what her experience looked like. She looked up at me, took a deep breath, and explained that although they had returned to the hotel, an hour previously, while waiting for her husband to finish the race, she was eating lunch at the Forum restaurant. One hour before, she was inches away from where the explosion took place. My eyes welled up and we all just stood there silent for a moment. She was here, running, with two legs, safe, back in her town, with her husband and family intact. We all thanked God for that blessing and agreed that is what will help all of America move forward.
Another runner then spoke up and said, “and that’s why we are here to run for them, because we are able and want to celebrate that while paying tribute to those who cannot.”
They all agreed that their lives had forever changed and when asked about what they thought about the bombers and their motives, Susan Tyler, the event organizer simply said, “I just don’t even want (them) to enter into my thoughts,” she said. “Whatever (their) plan was, I don’t care, my thoughts are with the victims.”
I second her thoughts. As a smart wife and mom I will take a second look at others even remotely looking or acting in a suspicious manner, yet I will not let what these “terrorists” did steal my joy or ability to have fun at public, crowded events. I also choose to pray for those still with us that survived the bombings with missing limbs and other severe injuries that now have changed lives forever. I choose to focus on a God of healing and moving forward in life with my family. Choose to forgive so that I can move on.
“In that sense,” I say aloud, “you failed terrorist one and terrorist two and my family and the almost 100 runners who showed up for this race, agree. God is control of our lives, not you and we choose to focus on moving forward.”
We started moving forward literally today, with a purposeful 3.3 miles. And it was perfect.”
Written by Dr. Bridget Bell Melson