My heart has been heavy since Friday November 13th. I can’t take my mind off of the fact that so many lives were unjustly cut short, and so many other people whose lives will forever be changed. All of this is due to the actions of some very misguided individuals. My mind keeps coming back to thinking about Paris and all the lives that were affected. I’ve been spending a lot of time on social media reading about all of the events that are going on. I am sad to admit that I too, did not know about a lot of the other events that people continue to speak about. The terrorist attacks in Beirut Thursday night that killed over 40 people and injured hundreds of others. Attacks that happened recently in Kenya, and so so many others. This is contemporary media coverage, keeping us all updated about the things that they choose are “relevant” and closer to home. Twitter was not thriving on Thursday night and fighting ISIS, but it was on Friday. This saddens me deeply. So while most of my focus in this post is directly speaking about Paris, I truly want to speak about tragedy that occurs all over the world, and am using Paris as an example.
I feel as though, way too quickly people began talking politics and fighting ISIS and retaliation, before they even stopped to empathize with the people who were forced to suffer. The people whose lives were unjustly cut short. The people whose lives were forever changed. Those who witnessed and survived the horrors. Those who were injured physically and mentally. Those who will never have their loved ones back. Too quickly people forgot to empathize with those who were suffering. Too quickly they wanted to talk about killing others and bombing other civilians. If you could feel the pain of those who were suffering, you would not for a moment want anyone else to have to suffer in that way. For these reasons, I think that before we can talk about any of these things, we must stay human, stay loving, and empathize with those who are suffering. If we don’t do this first we will lose those beautiful qualities that we all were born with, and instead we will become hateful, spiteful creatures who only cause more pain and suffering.
I urge you to take a look at the heart wrenching yet heartwarming Facebook post that was written by Isobel Bowdery, who was one of the survivors of the Paris attacks (I think her post has since been taken down, but if you search her name on Twitter or Google you will easily find the post). She speaks about what she went through when gunmen entered the concert hall and began shooting innocent people. She shares the horrors of it all, which I won’t force you to hear as it is quite disturbing. But what she emphasizes is not anger and hatred. Instead, she found the beauty in the situation. She spent time thanking the strangers who comforted her, appreciating the love she saw in people’s final moments together, and the compassion she received from so many. This woman who experienced the horrors of that night was able to see what is so beautiful about humanity. She saw what was beautiful, not what was ugly. No one would hold it against someone who had been in that situation to be fearful and full of hatred towards society. But Isobel grasped on to the beauty of our world, and for that I genuinely thank her. Even I was feeling deeply saddened about the horrible world we seem to live in. How people can so horrendously harm other human beings made me feel depressed about the world we live in. How can people be so cruel and cause so much unnecessary suffering? But Isobel helped me see that if you look just a little deeper, past the ugliness of these situations, you can find what is truly beautiful about our world. Love, compassion, trust, and selflessness.
This also reminds me of a quote my husband shared with me when we were discussing the horrors of these events.
“Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” – Fred Rogers
If you do this, you will see that it is only a small few who commit the horrors in our world, and great masses of people who are beautiful, loving and compassionate. Sometimes it feels like the world is a dark sad place, especially when we see heartless tragedies occurring. But when we take the time to see all of the people selflessly helping, we’re able to see how much more beauty there is in our world than ugliness.