Monday, November 4, 2013

Final Thoughts on Boston Strong...

“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don't play together, the club won't be worth a dime.”                     --Babe Ruth

2,000,000 people. 

All together, cheering in one voice for one cause, celebrating one ideal, laying aside all that which so easily separates humans one from another…kind of amazing if you think about it.

2,000,000 people.

That’s how many Boston Red Sox fans showed up for the rolling rally last Saturday to mark the team’s 2013 World Series championship. As if to affirm the magic of that autumnal morning, the Universe provided a perfect New England Indian summer day, warm and sunny, a last gasp of spring before winter arrives.

Folks came from all over: giddy little girls from Gardner and grizzled long time fanatics from Framingham, captivated college kids from B.C. and Northeastern and UMass Boston and wide eyed Little League baseball players from Littleton, Lexington and Lancaster. Maybe even a few secret New York Yankees fans too, their blue and white caps stowed away for just one day.

And for that one day all of them were one. Unified in purpose and joy.

If you were able to peak into the lives and hearts of all those folks you could have named obvious differences, chances for disunity, discord in the crowd. Rock red Republicans rubbing elbows with dyed in the wool blue Democrats. South End gays and suburban straights standing side by side. Recently arrived Dominican immigrants cheering next to Wellesley Yankee blue bloods, all hoping for a peek at Big Papi.

But for one special morning they all got along. Two million citizens, with nary a dissenting, disagreeable, or downer voice in the bunch. A visitor to the city last weekend might have thought he’d arrived in the wrong place with all those easy smiles and civic civility running rampant.  Isn’t this Boston? The land of rude drivers and cranky Yankees and snooty academics?   

I recall only one other day in recent Boston history when a similar spirit prevailed, albeit one marked by sadness and fear, not joy: the awful afternoon last April when the bombs went off at the marathon finish line. Then the city and the region was one as well.  Like opposite sides of a coin, the Sox amazing run up to a trophy and the city’s strength in the face of terror both powerfully demonstrate a deep yearning within the human heart.  The need, the hope, the dream that we can be together as human beings: live together, work together, mourn together, love together, cheer together, hang together, support each other: and do it all TOGETHER. 

I’m not suggesting that the Sox “redeemed” the city from the events of last spring somehow, you know, “Boston Strong”. To equate that kind of spiritual power to twenty five men who play a game with nothing at stake but a “win”, gets too close for me to exploiting, even insulting the memory of the dead and the injured, the brave who put lives on the line to save a stranger, the broken still trying to recover.

Yet I do see a link between April 15th and November 2nd. Both days remind us that God makes us, not for self alone, but for each other.  Humankind is supposed to be a team, not a collection of self-interested folks. So here’s real “Boston Strong”: to be given life by our Creator then to watch out for and care for the people we share planet earth with, in our neighborhoods, towns, cities, our state, and nation. Lately, as we’ve witnessed in politics our civic compact fraying at the edges, leaders acting like lug heads, that’s a very valuable lesson to learn. 

Together.  It is sad that it takes a tragedy or a triumph to remind us of how much we really, really, really need each other but maybe this is one hope we can take away from the last seven months of our common life in greater Boston.    

We do need each other.  We do need to be together.  We are called to be one.

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