A Boston Marathoner’s Question – “Where Does the Love Go?”

Monday, April 15, 2013 the news reached me.

I’d taken Sunday away from the computer and all news channels, spending the day with those I love (including a couple of furry critters) so I didn’t know about the explosions in Boston until Monday morning. I’m sure I wasn’t alone in checking the Facebook profiles of the runners I know – hoping that none of them decided to run the Boston this year. And feeling a little guilty at the immense relief I felt at reading their status updates – shock and prayers for those affected, but all of them safely out of the danger zone.  Because I know that the fact that no one I know and love was harmed doesn’t reduce the impact that this has on all of us. Because I know that the ripples of any event touch us all.

And our responses to any event cause ripples that touch us all as well.

With social media, those ripples move faster.

This short post from Redfin CEO, Glenn Kelman, first caught my eye on twitter, although it was originally posted on Linked In. I’ve since seen it show up on Facebook (and have shared it there myself.) It is so widespread I could not begin to estimate the extent of the ripples emanating from that one “stone.”

But I do believe that the last lines, which read, “And I wondered what would happen to all that love. I hope it never goes away,” are a stone that will continue to cause ripples for years.

Because, even if no one ever reads that post after this week – it’s clear in the comments below the post and the comments of those who shared it – that thought has caused people to wonder, to hope, to shift. People are rooting for that love, cheering it on.

What does happen to love? The outpouring we see at joyful events like the end of Glenn’s 2011 Boston run, or incomprehensibly tragic events like this year’s Boston Marathon – where does that love go when there is nothing to bring about its expression?

I believe it never goes anywhere.

Because love isn’t something that CAN go away – it exists within us, not outside of us. It’s only the outward expression that seems to be missing from our day-to-day existence.

Notice I say, “seems to be missing.”

Because it’s there. It shows up in little ways, the smile of a stranger, the shared joke at the checkout counter, the free coffee in the drive-though lane, offered just because the customer paid the staff a compliment. Those are experiences I’ve had, seen, or heard about in just the last week.

Love is never missing. It just goes unexpressed and unnoticed.

Without the big event, the celebration or tragedy, we forget to express the love within us, and fail to notice the love around us.

But what if… if we allow ourselves to express more love, won’t we have room to accept more love?

And if we accept more love, isn’t it true that we don’t have as much room for other things – like helplessness, and hate, and hurt.

Maybe, if we learned to pay attention, to notice when love is shown, and accept it at face value, we’d have more reason to express love “without calculation or reservation” as we celebrate together instead of as we mourn.

I think that is the “marathon” Glenn proposes that we run together.

From that post:

Until I’d run the Boston Marathon, I had no idea that an entire city could, without calculation or reservation, express so much love.

That’s what I thought about when I saw the explosion, and the police who ran toward the scene rather than away from it. I grieved for the runners and spectators who had been hurt or killed. And I wondered what would happen to all that love.

I hope it never goes away.

This was, in a “no-coincidences” fashion, the Daily Dose of Dynamite that went out that Monday morning. These are, as most of you would have guessed, written and loaded days in advance – so it wasn’t a commentary on the Boston Marathon. But I couldn’t write anything better after knowing what had happened than I did when I entered that email several days ago…

“The human spirit is stronger than human nature. The worst that human nature can dish out, the human spirit can overcome.”

I’ve had my chances to test that theory, and I’ll bet you have too. But history – mine, yours, and that of the whole human race – says it’s still the truth.



As I began to receive responses from readers asking me if that was intended as a comment on events in Boston, I had to ask myself if I still believed it to be true. Yes, I do. More than ever.

Because the human spirit has an unlimited capacity for love.

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