As we get older — and intolerant, resistant to change, wear matching pants and tops, and schedule our lives in 15 min increments — we don’t have the same perspective as kids do. They live in the moment and can spout profound wisdom.
Earlier this year my son and I went hiking. There were trails and some signage but the further away from the main entrance you got, the less visible the trails were and the signage disappeared. I used to run on these trails but the kind of running where I was never exactly sure where I was, and generally had to backtrack to find my way to something familiar.
As we walked along he asked me if I knew were I was going. I told him not really, but I knew that the trail merged up ahead and that would help me figure out where we were.
“It’s okay which way you’re going” he said to me kindly, “because it just leads up to something.”
Kids can blame us for their lack of understanding of the world. They want us to fix things, make things be a certain way, and solve any crisis. As they get older and gain perspective they understand that to make changes in the world sometimes the only change possible is from within.
Change comes with maturity and willingness. Some things are still hard to understand, such as the deliberate cruelty of others intent on causing harm.
I am disheartened and sad at the bombings that took place at the 116th Boston Marathon. The single-minded focus of an individual(s) who didn’t want to change themselves. This person was likely lost (in life), and couldn’t find their way and would not change. I am sad for this person but much more than this I am angry at the pain they caused.
We are more than just ourselves. If you look at how many people we have packed onto the planet, it’s somewhat amazing that our collective consciousness functions at the level it does and we are not constantly bombarded with acts of selfishness. Perhaps we are, but not in a scale that creates the same level of tragedy as it did this week.
Runners are amazing people: they are strong, they are focused and they are willing. They endure. I heard one of the ER doctors today say that he was amazed at the courage and tenacity of his patients. Many went from bleeding helplessly on the ground believing they were dying to waking up from surgery feeling lucky to have “only” lost a limb.
The runners and spectators, family, friends, emergency personnel, race organizers, police, paramedics and anyone who even knew of the marathon being run are all part of something greater. They are part of something greater than the pain, hurt, and tragedy inflicted upon them. They may not know where they are going now, but it’s okay. It will lead to something.