Why Life Should Be Like the Boston Marathon

Just about every year around this time, I write or tell some version of this story in the hopes that one day life will, indeed, be like the Boston Marathon.

The Boston Marathon was the first race I ever stood on the sidelines to watch. My husband and our stroller-riding daughter and I could walk down from the campus of Andover Newton Theological School where I was in seminary. The pastor at the church where I interned was running the marathon for the first time to raise money for our funky little inner-city, South Boston church (I believe he’s run it every year since).

I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t the crush of enthusiasm, encouragement and support I encountered. Tons and tons of people lined the street. I asked my husband, “What are they all here for?”

“To cheer,” he said.

“For who?” I asked. Thinking maybe a lot of famous runners or celebrities ran in this race.

“For everybody,” said my former college cross country team member husband who was looking at me wondering why I was so clueless about this.

And they were. People lined the streets sitting in their lawn chairs, set up with coolers to settle in for the day. They held signs that said, “You can do it!” “Keep going!” “I believe in you!”

They handed out tiny cups of jelly beans and orange slices to the runners. They shouted words of encouragement and admiration. All along the 26.2 mile course, the runners were cheered on by people they didn’t know and would most likely never meet.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could keep a little more of that energy and enthusiasm and supportive spirit in our regular lives? People cheering one another on in daily life. Folks who don’t even know each other exchanging words of encouragement. Wouldn’t it be nice to get a “You can do it!” during the course of each day or an “I believe in you!” as we walk into the office or to class?

No matter where you are today, I invite you to enter into the spirit of the Boston Marathon. Let’s cheer one another on. The race is long, and we’re all in it together.

Rev. Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently based in New York City. Doubting Believer provides tools and encouragement for the rollercoaster ride of your faith journey. Follow me on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube. You can also follow on TikTok. Get emails to keep up with all that is happening.

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