What now, after Paris?
Finding light amongst the darkness is proving increasingly challenging for me in the aftermath of the tragic terror attacks in Paris Friday night. Mr Rodger’s posthumous viral advice tells us to concentrate on #lookingforthehelpers. Focusing on the knowble acts tragedy often brings out in mankind is a powerful tool for finding a shimmer of day light lurking in the seemingly never ending night.
I feel guilty today going about my regular day, but what else can I do to help really? I live a far cry from the streets of Paris, yet somehow, feel oddly connected to Friday’s attacks. Perhaps, because it takes me back to that dark day 14 years ago in September. The day, that for me, and many others, would become the defining moment in our young lives. Watching, awestruck, and terrified, shaken to the core, as the world as we knew it, came crashing down before our eyes. News of Friday night’s attacks brought many around the world back to that scary place of fear and utter disbelief.
For my generation September 11th was our defining moment. The shock and bone chilling fear would become part of us and we would never feel truly safe again. Since then we have seen planes fall out of the sky and cities around the world and here at home terrorized in the name of jihad.
The Paris terrorist attacks continue to haunt my thoughts today as they have since unfolding on live TV Friday night. What do we, as Americans, do in the aftermath of this terrible tragedy in France? We change our profile pictures to the temporary French flag and offer support and kind words with the #prayersforparis over social media, but what then?
R says we go on, we get together with family and friends, we go to football games, and yoga class, we go to work and to school. We move forward because sitting still, frozen in shock, in sadness and in fear will get us no where. His rationality is the perfect balance for my irrationality, (though I like to think my irrationality enriches our lives in many ways as well).
Today rationality wins, and we move on with our lives. The kids go to Sunday school, I go to #barre class and we spend a nice afternoon entertaining family at our home. #sundayfunday, I still feel bad though….
The terrorists are winning this ugly ugly war and there is nothing I can do about it. Mark Twain’s words echo in my head as I search for motivation and strength.
“Courage,” according to Twain “isn’t the absence of fear, but the mastery of fear.” We have to all move forward, cautiously, with our eyes opened, mastering our fear rather then being crippled by it, letting the terrorists win.
1. Let go of the hate.
World Peace many never be attainable in my lifetime, but I hope that I will live to see a world less filled with hate. Dr. Martin Luther King lived and died embracing love and non-violence despite being up against a world of hate. “Hate,” he has famously said, “is too great a burden to bear.” Love thy neighbor, and don’t waste your energy on hate.
2. Be kind to fellow man.
Focus on the positive by looking for the helpers, being kinder to the stranger in the car next to you, or the person behind you in the checkout line. Perhaps trivial, I know I have been kinder in the past few days to strangers. In a world filled with such hate, spreading nicities, by even little gestures, perhaps will fuel a widespread epidemic of global kindness.
3. Education is king.
Ignorance breeds fear and fear breads hatred. Our only hope for quelling the violence and the terror in our future is education. We need work tireless to bridge the gaps between races, cultures and religion. By unifying our global society under one umbrella of humankind we create a unified global community of likeminded individuals. Stereo typing and generalizations only works to reinforce division. Our society is becoming increasingly more blended and diverse with every passing year, cross cultural acceptance is paramount.
4. No man is an island, no country stands alone.
Gone are the days of isolationism. Today we are a globalize society whether we like it or not, and we have no choice but to embrace this reality. The Paris attacks bring about a renewed sense of loyalty to the global community of the free world. If “today we are all French”… tomorrow may we all remain united as one global nation, unified by the common goal of peace on earth, happiness and freedom for all mankind.
Until next Sunday, my friends, be well!
This weeks posted is dedicated to all those whose lives were lost in Friday night’s terror attacks in Paris. #todayweareallfrench