Monday, April 27, 2015

blessings in Boston

A few weeks before he left for Japan, Secondo told me that he had done his research, and found the one Episcopal church in Toyko that held services in English. He wanted to attend Easter services while he was travelling. I was impressed by his initiative, but considered it a long shot.

Danged if he didn't. We only heard the story after he returned. While my brother and his family were still asleep, Secondo got himself up and dressed in the button-down Oxford shirt he insisted on taking for this purpose. He left a note, put the address into google maps on his phone, and struck off across Tokyo, on foot, for a three-mile walk early Sunday morning.

Even through this low tunnel, that Google maps insisted he had to travel through, so low that he had to stoop down in parts to avoid hitting his head.

Yet another sign that this kid is going to be OK, even if deadlines and time management and bedroom floors continue to be an issue.

A week ago found my husband and I in Boston, getting ready for his first time running the Boston Marathon. He has been trying to get into this race for ages; you have to qualify on your time, and it is quite difficult. He actually qualified for last year's race, but with everyone re-running it after the bombing, he wasn't able to get in. So this was the year.

Sunday was a beautiful day and we went for his last pre-race run (well, he went for a run, I panted and groaned behind him as I am quite out of shape at the moment; this desk job has done me no favors). Running in a city makes a nice change from running next to fields—the buildings just fly by, giving you the impression that you are really, really fast—plus Boston has the beautiful Charles River to run along.

The tail end of our run took us through the Boston Commons and past Trinity Church. I think we had the same thought: our kid managed to get himself to church when he was in Tokyo, and we hadn't given it a thought. Clearly, he didn't get it from us. I doubled-back to check the service times: 7 and 9 am. I pulled out my phone: 9:00 on the dot. We looked at each other, then turned together and ran into the church, sweaty running clothes and all. It was as if the hand of God scooped us in.

We almost turned around when we saw the usher in a full spring suit, but he assured us that we were fine as is and we would be in good company, because runners were especially welcome that day. 

How right he was! Near the end of the service, the priest called all the runners in attendance up to the front of the church, and he said a special prayer over them for safety. Then everyone in the congregation stood up and applauded. It was a wonderfully moving moment, well worth feeling just a lot bit underdressed.

After the service... Yes, I went up to the communion rail in those crazy striped running socks! At least I had a skirt on.

The next day was the complete opposite, weather-wise. Cold, rainy and 20 mph winds, blowing out of the east which meant that the runners ran into the wind for the entire 26.2 miles. Due to the way the course is laid out, I was advised to only try and see him in one spot. The weather made that even more advisable. This is him just after he turned onto Boyleston, heading toward the finish line, and spotted me on the sidelines.

And then inside, out of the weather, all proud with his medal and mylar blanket. Those gloves aren't normal running gloves, he wore them intending to throw them away after the race started, because he had to wait a few hours at the start. However, the weather was so bad that he ended up keeping them on. Seems they are now a permanent part of his gear kit for accompanying him the entire distance.

The sign was the way he found me on the sidelines; something bright that I hoped he would be able to pick out in his exhaustion. It worked! And now he can say that he ran the Boston Marathon, and I can proudly say I was there to watch it.