Yesterday I took a day off work (and this blog) as it was Massachusetts' second-favorite holiday - Marathon Monday. Nowhere else I know has a sanctioned state holiday so its citizens can go out and get drunk in public under the watchful eye of the police while people in very good shape run past them.
I don't live that far from part of the marathon route, so when I left my house on Monday I could hear the roars of the crowd before I could see the runners. This event always makes me tear up at least once - whether it's a parent pushing a child in a wheelchair down the course, someone who jumps into the race to run with a friend who needs a boost, or just strangers calling out the names written on the runners' shirts to cheer them on. The woman in the photo on the left is standing at a spot about three miles before the finish line.
So I had a lot of stories to sift through when I returned to the blog this morning. Each of the links below touched a nerve in some way - whether by impressing me with generosity or the notion that there is a fine line between most opposites.
Smh.com.au did a piece on an Australian woman who connected with a man over the internet in need of a healthy kidney. She donated and inspired a group to promote living organ donors. The man she donated to is now leading a healthy life and watching his grandchildren grow.
USAToday.com did a follow-up on the viral internet phenomenon that is Susan Boyle. It explores all the reasons Boyle's performance touched us.
Every so often I find stories on modern-day Good Samaritans. You do hear horror stories about Craigslist, but that site (along with other social networks) can facilitate good things too. A Pittsburgh man who refused to be revealed borrowed from "Pay It Forward" earlier this month when he solicited things people needed help with then drove 1200 miles to Chicago to do them without recognition or payment (windycitizen.com).
This last story is the one that really made me stop and consider exactly how big two millimeters really is. BBC Online reported on the "luckiest soldier in the British army" who was shot through the helmet during a firefight by the Taliban...and then got back to his machine gun an hour after his near-miss. Not only is that luck but, I think, bravery.