"Do you not know that in a race all runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize." ~1 Corinthians 9:24
Like any community which knits itself together with the thread of common bonds and shared interests, the running community is no different. I guess, in part, this is why the news of the bombings at the Boston Marathon tied a stone to my heart that made it sink to my gut.
In a race you can be shoulder to shoulder with a stranger and still feel you're with a friend. There's an unspoken understanding among you that badges of honor here come in the form of blisters, callouses and missing toenails. A shared sense that we all run because we need to. We want to. We get to. A mutual foreboding that the coming miles will be painful and horrible, yet instantly and gloriously forgotten the moment your mind and heart drags your body across the finish line.
I'm angry. But I don't hate you because you took something I love and tried to smash the simplicity and joy of it to pieces. I grieve for your soul because it's so dark and twisted with evil. Unable to strive for something out of love or dedication, you instead seek to destroy the very heart of those who are braver than you. Stronger than you. You think your acts of terror make you strong and free. You think you weaken us and shackle our feet with your fear. You are wrong. It is you who are bound by your heart of stone and your caged soul.
You know nothing of runners. Though our body may be broken, we run on. Though logic says "you'll never make it, sit down and quit", we run on. We've learned the lesson that our body will always reach the point of exhaustion, so we've trained our minds to press on toward our goal. We run these streets. You do not.
We are all runners here. We live life shoulder to shoulder, with those we sometimes share nothing in common with but our desire to endure and to finish well the race set before us. So let's run! Run for the freedoms that are despised by those who think terror will cause us to stumble and forget why we run. Run for the finish that far outweighs the struggles of the moment. Run because you need to. You want to. You get to.
"Do you see what this means-all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running-and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed-that exhilarating finish in and with God-he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourself flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!"
~Hebrews 12:1-3 (The Message)
"Why do you say, 'My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God'? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."