Frequently people think compassion and love are merely sentimental. No! They are very demanding. If you are going to be compassionate, be prepared for action.
- Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Senseless, painful, tragic, life-altering, vicious, scarring—all of these words, and so many more, have crossed my mind since I heard the news of the Boston Marathon bombings on Monday, April 15.
On Sunday, April 14, I ran in a half-marathon in New York—12,000 female runners in Central Park. Each woman doing this run for her own reason, yet each one challenging herself physically and mentally. Not quite the 26.2 miles endured in a full marathon, but a challenge all the same. I, like many of the women on Sunday, ran to support a cause. (A big thank you to all who so generously supported my effort!)
I was honored to run for Team Hole in the Wall, supporting Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, for children with cancer and other serious illnesses. I have worked at this camp and feel so grateful each time I am able to support its remarkable mission to give kids, no matter their illness, the joy and friendships of a camp experience, free of charge. Throughout my training and during the half-marathon on Sunday, the strength and will of these campers were with me, pushing me, guiding me. What a gift for me.
I cannot help but think of all of the people competing in Monday’s Boston Marathon, running for themselves, for someone else or for a formal cause. Their efforts give off such positive energy, it’s palpable. And it’s contagious.
That will to do something big, something seemingly unreachable, something to positively impact others is a terrifically powerful thing. This, in and of itself, is a kind of outreach—to challenge yourself physically, while raising funds and awareness for a cause or an organization that will serve others. This is an endeavor with no downside, in my opinion (save for muscle pulls along the way).
Yet the explosions in Boston scarred not just those running, but also their families, those on the sidelines and everyone in this nation, an injury from which we will all need to heal. Our personal outreach will come in different forms—supporting a friend or family member directly affected by the explosions, offering support to organizations helping the victims and their families, giving blood, praying. At Guideposts Outreach we will do all we can, through prayer, written materials and responding to requests to provide others with much-needed support.
May we all have the same conviction as those running in the Boston Marathon as we reach out to help our country heal from yet another tragic event. Every bit of what each of us can do will make a difference.
Katheryn (Katie) Allen Berlandi is the seventh of Guideposts cofounders Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and Ruth Stafford Peale’s eight grandchildren. She is a clinical social worker with a private practice focusing on children, adolescents and families, and a consultant for Guideposts and the Guideposts Foundation. Katie lives in a small town in Connecticut with her husband, two daughters and son.