Sunday, 15 November 2015

Paris Attacks: Embrace the light, ignore the darkness

Who among us remained unmoved watching the images of the French under attack?
How could a person not feel anger, and utter cries of revenge?
From the terrorists' points of view, this means "mission accomplished".
They can explode bombs and fire into crowds within days.
Or they can do nothing.
Regardless, they have caught our attention.

Terrorists train us to be afraid, to look around, to be suspicious of our neighbors.
Even if it never happens again, the damage has been done.
They have successfully sown their seeds, and thanks to the power of social media, everyone in the world knows their power.
There are those among us who are calling for unflinching retaliation against those who commit evil deeds. They want us to close our borders, card everyone, and destroy and obliterate whole communities. Pit one human being against another. Put our needs before those who live in rags and swim in sewers.
But there are more of us who ask "what can we do? how can we help? how can we become more generous?"
How much more can we love?

I choose not to worry or be afraid.
I choose life, and compassion.
I choose not to worry.
To paraphrase Jesus, "who among us will add one more hour to our lives with worry?"
I will take a plane and a train.
I will offer my hand to a stranger.
I will make a meal for a Syrian refugee. I will offer a Syrian child a backpack full of hope for the future.

The terrorists will laugh as attendance at sporting events and concerts dwindle.
They will cackle at the news that nations recoil and choose to ignore the pleas of women, men and children.
If we embrace our fears, they win.
If we go to the place in our own lives that is full of pettiness, anger and revenge, they will win.

We must do the opposite.
Bring in as many refugees as we can manage.
Go about living our lives with gusto.
Help a neighbor.
Because that is who we are.
Terrorists operate from a place of darkness; we operate from a place of light.
They believe the glass of compassion is empty; we believe our glass is full.
They look at what they can destroy; we ask what more can we do?

Those with evil in their hearts cannot take away our compassion.
Or our love.
They may shoot and kill some people. They may blow up buildings and cause chaos.
But there are more of us than there are of them.
I have to believe that.

Ring the bells that still can ring...

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