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"The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start."
Several friends of mine ran in the 2013 Boston Marathon to raise money for various charities. One friend in particular ran to raise money for premature babies at Brigham and Women's Hospital. She got stopped and redirected at the 25th mile like many of the runners; she then ran over to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where we worked, to find the hospital in code amber. We used Facebook to notify her family and friends that she was ok since her cell phone was at the finish line. Instantly stories of the seriously injured and noble reports of first responders began pouring in on her feed and it quickly became evident that these were the stories of her friends. She learned her roommates and a dear friend were among those very seriously injured and all were transported to different hospitals around Boston. I’m glad I was there at that moment with her to offer a bit of help, but I still felt so utterly helpless, I needed to do something more, but I had no idea what to do… my heart sank with the feeling that there simply was nothing to do.
In the days following last year’s marathon, I found myself, in one way or another, constantly thinking of the events of the 2013 Boston Marathon. I was left heartbroken with the realization that such a monumental event and loving display of humanity was disrupted. That such a beautiful occasion was destroyed with one simple hateful act and with such little effort; it began to make me more and more angry. While news reports began to explore the motives in an attempt to bring those responsible to justice, my mind kept returning to what would make someone take the time and effort to do such a hateful act? The only conclusion I could come to was that some seriously heartbreaking incident happened to them at some point, and they chose hate and anger rather than finding some measure of love in the world.
I was then overwhelmed with sadness, with the realization this one simple hateful act may have just left so many more people with the decision to choose hate rather than love. And then it hit me, loving displays of humanity are never trumped by one simple hateful act, rather each kindness and even every crime bind us to each other, through the past and in the present. That millions of beautiful mercies often accompany not only the smallest of premature babies, but also the largest of terrorist attacks. Sometimes we don’t know why things happen, sometimes we'll never have the power to change things, but we can still choose love over hate, we can still do things for those in need. My own anger began to subside after realizing that there was now something for me to do I could do something, a lot actually! I could choose love and help those in need; I was not going to allow hate to steal love from me. Sometimes this life is unspeakably heartbreaking, but never forget, this life is always unspeakably magnificent too.
While I’ve lived in Boston for over 12 years, this is my first marathon. I have watched the marathon over the years; I never dreamed I would actually run it one day. But this year is different I am going to be running the 2014 Boston Marathon for a wonderful charity, the Matty Eappen Foundation. My goal is to raise a minimum of $5000 and I am very proud that this money will contribute to preventing abusive head trauma through public awareness and education as well as provide assistance to victims and their families. Please take a moment to find out more about the Matty Eappen Foundation http://w.mattyeappen.org.
My nephew, and oldest friend, Matt sent me the John Bingham quote above after I told him I was running the Boston marathon this year. He has completed several triathlons and is a constant source of encouragement to me. He added, "This quote embodies my running philosophy of challenging myself to what seems unattainable to the person I am today, but is exactly what the person I strive to be needs. It also speaks to the ever present struggle of love overcoming hate, having the courage to understand, appreciate, and love your fellow man and also the importance of setting big goals for yourself, going outside of your comfort zone – it is not easy but we must have the courage today, to be who we desire to be tomorrow."
Today I am asking you to focus on spreading the message of choosing Love over Hate. I hope you’ll catch the 118th Boston Marathon on April 21, and cheer for those who choose to focus on the beautiful blessings that have been given, rather than those things that have been taken away. Please donate to the Matty Eappen Foundation to support my run, choose and spread the message of love over hate.
Thank you in advance for your support!