Friday, April 19, 2013

Like a marathoner

I remember when a friend of mine was in labor, and we were talking about how the birthing process is the total opposite of how flight or fight works. It's incredible pain (we both thought it would be, anyway, at the time -- she knows better than I do now) and yet, you have to run at it like a marathoner, even as it gets worse, because it's the only way to get to the other side.

I thought about that today. A high school classmate died last weekend. I didn't know her very well at all. And yet, what I remember is a person who was always (always!) smiling. Who said hi and how are you to a girl who was never smiling, really. And who was sincerely nice and meant it. Who had wonderful family and friends. Who, I learned, had two beautiful children. Who will go on without their mother and miss her everyday. Who will have a totally different life now.

I thought about that with the Boston Marathon. My brother in law ran it a few years back and for a few moments I couldn't remember for sure -- he's not there right? Right?? And he wasn't. But, oh, so many were. And now some are not here anymore. Others have had incredible pain and loss, and they will have a totally different life. Still others will struggle to recover from the very experience. We, all of us, will look at the world differently, yet again.

It hurts our hearts to know that there is pain in the world, and it hurts worse when it becomes a reality for those we know of, and certainly those we know. It's not fair and it's certainly not how we picture it, but sometimes, you have to run toward the pain like a marathoner. Because it's the only way to get through the tunnel. For some of us, that tunnel is the darkest of places. We are taking it on faith that there is a light at the end. That there is, in fact, an end.

Maybe it's not an end so much, as the start of something else. A new time in life. A new marathon to run, perhaps. So, we go on, with tears, remembering the previous race, wondering what we're in for with this one. Hoping, always, that it will be better this go 'round. That it won't be so painful. Loving, again, despite the risk of loss.

Hope. Faith. Love. Run toward it like a marathoner.

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