The last few weeks my mind has been spinning about the convergence of joy and pain, contentment and anguish, peace and terror.
For so many of those hurt in Boston on April 15, the day represented the best and worst for them. The best because they had completed something wonderful, done what they set out to do. The worst because of the damage those two explosions did to their bodies, their minds and their worlds.
(I had that sense of joy, peace and contentment on May 1, 2011 when I completed a half-marathon and knew I had raised over $3,000 with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training. The feeling of that moment has been matched so far in my life only by the moment in which I accepted my husband’s marriage proposal, the first entire day of our marriage and the moment our son took his first breaths in my arms.)
For too many of the runners that day, their joy was stolen by bombs and someone else’s bad decisions and replaced with the most intense pain, anguish and terror. That day the 270 people who were hurt were linked by history. And undoubtedly, some of them joined me and moms like me in a sad club with one requirement: The best day and the worst day of your life are the same day.
I had been thinking about that idea when I picked up Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner for my graduate seminar on geography and literature. To my astonishment, the story I remembered so well resonated with me in a completely different way this time.
This time, I was stuck on a thread of the novel that I had not even thought about when I first read the book. Like me and surely someone who was there in Boston, Amir meets the qualifications our club. His best and worst day were the same. The day he won the kite flying contest, the day he finally had is father’s adoration, was the same day he betrayed Hassan, the person who mattered most to him. It was a day that changed his life’s course. A day that haunted him. And a day for which he was eventually able to atone, courtesy of the wonderfully written fiction.
But unlike Amir, there is no way for me to make things “good again.” There was nothing I did, nothing those in Boston did. Only circumstance got us here: a place where the best day and worst day are one in the same. Does it make us unlucky that we have nothing to atone for? Or are we just stuck for awhile, until we are physically healed and then our bodies and our minds will make things “good again”?
I hope that hard work to improve my physical strength, continued emotional therapy to resolve some intense emotional wounds and love from and for the family and friends who have seen me through this will get me where I want to be. That feeling of wholeness, of worth, that Amir earned during that brutal beating changed his life course again. He was “good again” and I will be, too.