Thoughts of Boston

I cradle it gently in my hands, taking care not to let go.  My finger traces the etchings of BOSTON on the side of the mug, and it somehow represents more to me than a simple souvenir.  I'm remembering what I left behind.  I drain the heated brew taking it in, swallowing it down as I wonder when the lump in my throat will follow.

I've been asked, "How are you?" and I find that that question has never been so difficult to answer.  I can't find the words.  I can't choose any certain feeling among the many that are holding me hostage.  This is one of many thoughts that have kept my mind busy over the past week.  So many questions, so few answers and the weight of it all brings me to my knees where I can only seem to utter one word, "God?"

I was standing just beyond the 26 mile marker, a tribute to those 26 lives recently silenced by the unexpected evil in Newtown, Connecticut.  I, being one witness of many sharing in the joy of those who had left behind the journey of Heartbreak Hill and the challenge of many miles before.  Waiting and cheering as I surveyed the street for my runner to round the bend and claim his medal.

At a distance, I spot his orange shirt moving closer in a painful stride.  Victory!  Arms raise, tears fall and the finish is steps away.  The dreamer finds this hope of many years has come to stir him from his reverie and to awaken him to this reality.  And it seems to be the perfect ending to the story of a man who has sacrificed, strived and pushed forward to gain a moment of deeply personal accomplishment.

We are full of happy congratulations as we leave the hotel to head for the airport.  The city of Boston has been kind to us, and we practice the culture of where we are by talking to strangers and offering smiles.  Two ladies wrapped in marathon foils exit their cab at the curb.  They are worn and seem to not hear our words of encouragement.  I notice a tremble about their shoulders.  In tears, one tells us of explosions at the finish line and we wonder stupidly what she means.

The ride to the airport finds us searching for information on our phones, and quick texts to family to say we are okay.   While at the airport, we learn more of the situation.  There are severe injuries, death.  I'm suddenly sick.

It's a strange and horrible day.  Surreal.

When we arrive home that night, my son cries long and hard into my shoulder.

It could have been me, and I think about why it wasn't.  So great was His mercy to me that my life shall continue for another day.  My body was spared to move as it always has.  My ears did not hear the splitting boom of bombs or the shattering of glass.  My nose did not detect the scent of fumes, my eyes did not see a mangled mess of evil or the blood of innocent ones poured out along the street.  In many ways, I have been spared the pain.

I am with them, strangely connected in thoughts that put myself in their place.  So much has been taken, and I want to know that all of us will be restored somehow, someway.  I want to see how God will take what the evil trenches of hell has forced upon us and mold it in his righteous omnipotent hands to make us all beautifully whole again.

God, the dream-giver, the author and creator of the world has not written the last chapter.  He is with us, changing us, renewing us, reviving us on this journey to the end.  He alone knows how and when we will reach the finish.  May we be given the strength and grace to raise our arms in victory.


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