More than just ourselves

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.

trail tree

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.

Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon (Photo credit: wenzday01)

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.


15 thoughts on “More than just ourselves

  1. The stories of the first responders who delivered aid and the runners who went to donate blood, even though they were dehydrated and worn out from the run, as well as the stories of others who stepped up to help is what helps restore our faith in the goodness of people. It’s sad when the evil overshadow the good.

    • It’s good to hear about the good in all this. *So* many people responded without thinking, without thought of consequence, to help out others. It shows how a tragedy will bring us together and how generally willing we are to help complete strangers. One idiot’s hope for glory or vindication has changed many lives, but it hasn’t made anyone less than they were. In fact, just the opposite…

  2. Well said, you’re absolutely right. Those people are dedicated runners who believe in staying strong and pushing the limits. The person who committed this atrocity was lost,yes. But in the end? He / she brought everyone more together than ever. If this makes sense? 🙂

    • Hi Andy,
      Thanks for your comments. I think marathoners were the wrong group to target to make an “impact.” This tragedy has shown the resilience and willingness and community that exists, not just amongst runners, but in the city of Boston as well. In the long term people won’t focus on the individual or the tragedy — they will see the good and the caring and the hope beyond the effects.

    • People are generally good, interspersed with those few idiots wanting attention. Going into ‘fear’ mode because of this event does nothing but create more fear. We’re not going to change anyone’s mind because we are scared.
      Take good care.

    • We certainly do forget a lot of things as we get older. I like how he still surprises me with his simplistic yet profound wisdom. It’s a strange comfort to me when things seem so conflicted.
      Yes — I’m glad that the compassion is leading over the fear in Boston. Some amazing people.

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