(Editor’s note: These reflections on the Boston Marathon bombings and the aftermath were submitted to the Sartell Newsleader by Shane Johnson, one of four Sartell residents who ran in the Boston Marathon.)
by Shane Johnson, Sartell
There are moments in life, and then there are moments: Those spellbinding times when the world seems to stand still as an experience imprints itself on your memory. Sometimes these images can haunt you, and sometimes they can inspire you.
Then there are the ever more rare moments that manage to do both. These are the images that live brighter and longer in our minds than any snapshot could ever hope to. My journey into one of these moments began just over 20 months ago with a dream of qualifying for and completing the Boston Marathon. Speed bumps and route changes would present themselves along the way that was going to make that moment all the more satisfying.
I realized that dream on April 15, 2013 and had but a moment to selfishly reflect on my own struggles and successes. That moment was over in an instant when countless innocents were affected by the actions of cowards. Quickly mine ( and I’m sure your) thoughts turn to why. However, that is not a question that can be answered as putting a rational explanation to an irrational behavior or individual will never give the closure that is sought. My heart became so heavy with sorrow for the victims and their families. All of you came out to make mine and thousands of others experience a wonderful one by cheering and extending your hands to say that we inspire you. Now some of those cheering voices are gone, and some of those extended hands are missing.
You now begin a long journey of recovery; I now want to extend my hand or cheering voice to let you know you are now my inspiration. I have had loved ones taken by the actions of cowards. However, I know I cannot feel the pain you are feeling as this is truly an act of terror that we will never make sense of. Most people will never know the pain or loss any of the victims or their families will feel, but all feel for you, as well as all those who lost something that day. Though something has been taken from everyone there that day and definitely some lost far more than others can imagine, we all have to look to the future and all become stronger from this. We all need to unite and show support for the victims, families, the city and the first responders. Donate your time or money, donate blood or make the trip to the fantastic city of Boston and let those responsible for the bombings know they will not win!
Times like these are reminders of those who go toward the danger with complete disregard for their own safety. Some of the real heroes of our society are the first responders. You can see the immediate reaction of the police, fire, medical personnel and the military. These men and women define courage when without thought they run toward the danger and victims without hesitation or concern for their own safety. We hear or read all the time where athletes are referred to as “heroes,” and this societal overuse diminishes the real value of actual heroes. I for one am truly in awe and in eternal debt of all my heroes in Boston. They are too numerous to name and all too humble to step up and ask for the recognition they all deserve. Because of you, my heroes, I will strive every day to have a fraction of the courage and character you have.
Thank you all for taking time out of your lives to read this. This was my own personal therapy, and I am very appreciative you took the time.
Next time you find yourself reaching for your phone or a camera, take a second to pause and savor what you’re recording. Notice each nuance – the sounds, scents, the feelings and get lost in the moment.