Only the best of the best qualify for the Boston Marathon. They make it that far because along the way, they have practiced “the short runs.” Over time, they build up the strength and endurance to run the big race. The best of the best were in Boston with families and friends on Monday.
I couldn’t help but think of my son when I heard the horrible news of the bombings in Boston. He’s a runner. He is also a goal setter. I have never known my son to set a goal and not complete it. In a few short years, he could probably qualify for such a race. Perhaps thinking of my son, the runner, was the reason I immediately connected with my family as soon as I heard the news. I wanted to tell them how much I loved them and cared for them. I think we all may have felt the need to reach out to those near and dear to our hearts in our collective time of shock and grief.
The heroic and compassionate acts of so many runners, townspeople and emergency staff in Boston, reminded me that the marathon of life is won only because of the many “short runs” we have completed in our lifetime. The short runs are what make the difference in order to become the best of the best.
What are the short runs? Small acts of kindness exhibited by the goodness of human kind like those we witnessed in Boston that day. Caring for those most in need with less than a thought for personal safety, hugging a grieving parent who just lost their child, giving a coat to a cold, cramping, shivering runner without asking for it to be returned, holding the hand of the desperately wounded telling them to “hang on.”
I was not at that race, but it certainly woke me up to the value of the “short runs” in this marathon called life. In a time of despair and doubt this week, I needed a reminder of what it really means (for me anyway) to run the good “short runs” of life. For me it means speaking up for those who are mistreated or abused, standing for justice and truth even when the world accuses me of being abrasive, giving food and clothing to homeless friends, offering a compassionate listening presence to a customer buying a sympathy card as she grieves the recent murder of two good friends.
I don’t know if I will ever qualify for the Boston Marathon. I doubt it. My son…quite possibly. Regardless, I know one thing for sure. I will never make it through this marathon called life by avoiding the short runs, those small acts of kindness that I can offer along the way.
Lifting heartfelt prayers for the victims and grieving families. I also offer my deepest gratitude to those who modeled simple acts of kindness and displayed God’s light in a time of darkness.
I pray that more of us will endeavor to run “the short runs” so we may all be called the best of the best as we cross the finish line of this marathon called life.