Like most people in the world, I couldn’t tear myself away from the news when Paris was attacked earlier this month.
An uneasiness had crept in, yet, I could not pull myself away.
I resigned myself to the fact that sleep was just going to have to wait. I kept reading post after post on Facebook and other various outlets. I was well aware of what had happened and who may claim responsibility. I did not doubt that for one moment, but I was disturbed by something else.
I started to feel like I was walking a tightrope while somebody was placing a 300-pound beverage cart on my chest—I had to exert a lot of effort to get one good breath in. I was anguished to see a city that I loved momentarily broken and I didn’t know how to fix it.
My head was spinning and I was in tears—not only because there were over 100 innocent victims who’s lives were so senselessly cut short, but because we were losing something important: compassion.
Plain and simple, I witnessed a lot of hatred towards others. The vitriol was alive and well in a time when peace, compassion, and understanding were needed the most.
I am not writing this to debate who is right or wrong here, or to negate anyone’s feelings. I am writing this as a means to heal; to quite the hurt and confusion that I feel for what not only happened last week, but every time the world deals with some cowardice attack, because we seem to always face a lasting backlash at how we treat each other at home.
People are hurt, confused, and filled with fear. I get it.
I am hurt, too. But what I do know is that over the past week, a humungous crack in the surface has been exposed and we have been left with uncomfortable feelings and emotions that, individually, we all must deal with.
Where do we go from here?
A good friend reminded me about the importance of sending love. I failed to do this initially because I was so wrapped up in feelings that I could not articulate properly.
If we have the ability to reach out and touch peoples’ lives in the blink of an eye, then we have the ability & know how to change the course of action we take in our lives. We have the power to love, and give, and understand one another. We have the ability to comfort those in need, and to know when to give comfort to ourselves. We have the ability to feel compassion for one another even when we don’t necessarily agree with them. We have the power to make a real difference in this world.
If a few people could orchestrate an atrocious act like the attacks in Paris last week, then a few people can easily turn it around. One person at a time, in their own way, in their own time.
Where we go from here is simple: inward.
Author: Shannon Brokaw
Editor: Caitlin Oriel