The Boston Marathon is dear to my heart. I’ve run the Boston Marathon numerous times, finishing 2nd three times in a row and setting an American record for the Marathon in 1981. My husband has run the Boston Marathon and placed 8th. I’ve not only run the race, but sold tee shirts at the starting line. I’ve interviewed the winners for a TV station and commented for the radio. I’ve been a guest in the lead vehicle to watch. I’ve held bags with changes of clothes for friends. I’ve done a lot at the Boston Marathon. I was born and raised in Boston, and I lived most of my life in that area. I know the place in Dorchester where the Richard family lives.
After our competitive running careers, my husband and I would take our two children to the Boston Marathon to watch the runners go by and to congratulate our running friends for competing in the race. At times we’ve had passes to sit on the bleachers. Sometimes we’ve walked up and down Boylston street to watch the runners and treated ourselves to ice cream. The Boston Marathon is an international sporting event, and the the only sporting event where an ordinary person may participate, providing they qualify within a certain time or raise funds for a charity.
I had DVR’ed this years race due to my husband working and my son having classes. We would be able to watch it together later in the day. I was doing yard work and wondering about this years race, since we had a friend from Wyoming running this year, Thomas Fagan. He had qualified and trained hard all year. My cell phone went off and my husband was on the other end asking, “Are you near a TV? Turn on the TV.”
The last time he asked me to turn on the TV was September 11, 2001.
I clicked it on and saw the smoke on Boylston street - saw all yellow jackets, heard a commentator saying “They’re dead!” – and I immediately said “Oh my God, the Fagans.....” And I said the Our Father.
Our father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name...
I called Lisa Fagan, and I got through before the cell towers were cut off. “Patti, what’s happening? I can’t find Thomas or Steve.” She said.
“Did you call them?” I asked...
“No, they don’t have a phone with them.”
I got off the phone so her line would be clear in case they called.
My Boston has been attacked. My running family has been attacked. Who would do such a thing? was not my first thought. My first thought was, My daughter and I did not go to watch this year. I wasn’t feeling up to it. Funny. I was really looking more forward to the time I would be having later at home listening to our friend from Wyoming, regaling his adventure of his first run of the Boston Marathon.
I watched images on the screen, horrified. I was transfixed. I prayed the our father again and again.Matthew 6:9
I waited along with many others for the names to be released of the three casualties 176 injured. I waited for the phone to ring, forgetting about the cell tower being shut off. No incoming or out going calls in the area, for fear it may set off a bomb. All of the people my husband and I knew in that area, were they okay? Were they near the bomb? Many of the people we know were working at the finish line. Either they are on the media bridge, or they are assisting runners through the finish chutes, or they are commentating for the news. No word. I could only pray.
I was 2 hours away,and even if I could get there, where would I park? What would I be able to do? The first thing I did do when I first heard of the the tragedy was pray. And I prayed to Our Father.
Matthew 6: 9-15
Our Father, my father, I am his child. I seek refuge and safety.
William Richard and his wife, Jane, of Dorchester, MA, had brought their kids to watch the Boston Marathon. It was a beautiful sunny day. Perfect spectating weather, since it was 65 degrees and there was a nice breeze. A joyous occasion, watching the marathon. Similar to my what husband and I have done when our children were small, bringing them to one of the greatest sporting events in the world. To walk up and down Boylston Street cheering on the finishers. To have a treat of ice cream or hot dog. To enjoy all of the friendly commotion.
The first bomb went off. William and Denise headed their children away from the explosion as quickly as they could, only to go head straight into the second explosion 10 seconds later. The Richard’s would have devastating effects. Their youngest son, 8 year old Martin, would perish, his sister, Jane would lose her leg and their mom, Jane, would have a brain injury.
There is a picture of little Martin with a poster he made for his schoolwork. It reads “No more hurting people”. Underneath he wrote “PEACE”.
Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be they name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread...
I whispered it over and over, my lips dry. I felt panic stricken.
Dear God, My Father who art in heaven, please be with this family. Please bless Martin’s father. Please protect his family. Above all Lord, please keep his heart pure from “pain and evil”. Please let him love...
After I cried upon hearing about little Martin, I was still saying the Our father.
Then it struck me...
“Forgive us our trespasses, as we also have forgiven those who trespass against us.”...
FORGIVEN! Oh gosh, I haven’t even thought about forgiving the person who did this. I had been praying the prayer and pleading for safety for all I know and the ones I didn’t know. Above all, the Richard family.
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Sometimes forgiving is terribly difficult. Especially, when something like this hits so close to home.
I pray for all of us, to forgive. I especially pray for love and for what little Martin’s hope: PEACE.
I am still learning how to pray. Yes, even after all these years of attending church and worshipping Jesus, after so many bible studies, I am finally learning how to pray. As many of my prayers are self serving and self centered. But as I continue to pray and recite the Disciples prayer, Matthew 6:11 – “Give us our daily bread”. Give me and those who are around me what they need today, be it forgiveness, love above all Lord, please give us our daily “bread’. I am learning to bring my daily needs to the Lord. And I pray that those 176 people who were injured in the bombing have their daily needs met.
1 Corinthians 13:13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”