I ran the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon last month. It was my fifth marathon, it was the warmest one I’ve ever run, it was my worst time ever, and I have rarely, if ever, run more than ten miles into a 40 mph headwind. It was tough.
This marathon was run in honor of the men, women, and children who lost their lives on April 19, 1995. I remember that day. I was at my grandmother’s house. We were living there because my parents had just separated and we had nowhere else to go. I remember watching the news as an eleven year old girl, and thinking “Who kills people like this? What did they do to him?” I remember being weirded out that it happened in a city I had visited and driven through on numerous occasions. I can picture it in my head and feel my grandma’s scratchy couch on my legs.
I will forever remember that day, that spring, that year. It changed my world.
The marathon is run to remember those who died; I ran to remember the families who were torn apart that spring. I felt an overwhelming sadness that on that day, kids went to school with two parents, and came home with one. The shock of that, the pit in their stomach as they tried to sleep, the sadness, the hushed phone calls, the whispers, the pitied looks. I remember it all too well, as it happened to me. I went to school with two parents who were married, I came home with one. I still had both of them, so it wasn’t the same, but my life changed and my heart broke that April. My home, my family, my heart was never the same.
God healed and moved miraculously that spring. And while I did not run in remembrance of any one person in particular, I found myself running in remembrance of the innocence lost in April 1995. For the families torn apart by violence. For the hearts broken and mended, the hopes dashed and reborn.
Spring 1995 will forever be a time that changed me. I will always remember how it felt. I will always remember the anxiety in my own young heart, as the world mourned and fell apart on the television screen behind me.
And I will always honor and remember what happened that Spring with a saddened, grateful heart. God healed and redeemed, and that is what remembrance is about; honoring the things lost, while rejoicing for the things that were redeemed.
Kacy Neinast lives in Fort Worth, Texas. She is a special education teacher and advocate of those with special needs and loves her job. She spends her time running, reading, and enjoying those she loves. Kacy believes in reinventing what it means to be a woman who loves the Lord and longs to help others learn to love the Lord with abandon, freedom, and a greater understanding of grace. She writes here.