Far From My Bedside

Flags of Lebanon and France

It was difficult to know what to write today. My mind still swims with the muck of recent days. Most of us are still swimming with it. This is a lot of free writing, and may not make a lot of sense. Bear with me.

I think John Pavlovitz had a poignant post for all of this. I can’t imagine the true depth of the pain felt by those affected, and my words of sympathy seem so shallow. They aren’t enough, but they are all I have right now.

Will it ever be too much for us?

There has been a lot of discussion lately, about why we as a collective whole gravitated toward France, but we left Lebanon behind, though they suffered an equally horrific attack just the day before the Paris attack.

“It’s because it happens so often there.”

That’s what I’ve heard. That’s probably what I’ve said. Misguided. Misinformed.

The New York Times said this:

The implication, numerous Lebanese commentators complained, was that Arab lives mattered less. Either that, or that their country — relatively calm despite the war next door — was perceived as a place where carnage is the norm, an undifferentiated corner of a basket-case region.

And this:

(A reminder of the muddled perceptions came last week, when Jeb Bush, the Republican presidential candidate, declared that “if you’re a Christian, increasingly in Lebanon, or Iraq or Syria, you’re gonna be beheaded.” That was news to Lebanon’s Christians, who hold significant political power.)

The fact is, I believe, that for us in the “Western World”, the attacks in Lebanon or Yemen or Syria or Nigeria or Indonesia or a multitudinous list of places we can barely locate on a map, is that they are all “Far from my beside” (a saying from my wife’s culture, which I think is accurate). We don’t relate. We don’t think about these other countries, these other cultures except in the misguided, misinformed, and woefully ignorant contexts.

The thing is, even if the violence was true (and it is for many), what does that matter? Why should that be a factor in how we react to their suffering?

I make no condemnations. For I am as guilty if not more so than anyone else.

It doesn’t matter where the attacks happen. It doesn’t matter if it happens all the time or once. It doesn’t matter if it happened to someone who shares my Christian faith or if it happened to my Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, or Atheist neighbor.

It doesn’t matter.

What matters is that we all need to stand together. All together.

For that is what terrorists want to do. Isolate. Terrorize. Make us distrust each other.

Isolated, terrified, small groups are much easier to control.

We are different. There will always be issues that we will never agree on when it comes to culture and faith and identity.

However, there is something much stronger that we have in common. You are a person. I am a person. We all have inherent value. All of us.

I don’t have the answers. I don’t know how to make it all stop. War is the easy answer. Beat the enemy into submission. My anger and rage likes that idea. Make them feel the pain and suffering that they cause for countless others. But, that will not end it. It may bring the quiet for a time, but only for a time.

I know this. I know war is a temporary solution. Violence begets violence begets violence, and so on. Yet, what can I offer for the long term? When IS enslaves Syrians or Iraqis or more, what do I offer the victims? Empty hands and empty words.

All I can do is pray. Pray for the victims, for those who have suffered and continue to suffer so much more than I can fathom. Pray for those who say they will not take this lying down any more and go to fight and bring some relief and end to the pain. Pray for those who inflict this evil upon us all, that by some miraculous working of the Holy Spirit they would lay down their arms and repent for what they have wrought upon the world.

It seems pathetic in the light of all of this, but I do believe prayer is more powerful than any weapon we can devise.

So, yes. That is what I offer, and I ask of us all. Pray and unite together. Stand together and let the terrorists of the world know they cannot tear us apart, they cannot cull us into corners and cower on our own. They cannot break us.

They cannot break us.


Yes, this is #StoryMonday. I’m afraid I don’t have much story in me right now. However, go, read, and enjoy some uplifting stories today. Wherever you can find them. Live your life without fear, and those who wish to steal our lives through fear will fail. Blessings to all of you.


I would love to discuss this story and more with you. You can Contact me through email, or Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.

Don’t forget to sign-up for my monthly Newsletter to keep up to date with all that’s going on. When you sign up now, you get my two Scifi short stories as a gift!

7 thoughts on “Far From My Bedside”

  1. Years ago, when Dennis Kucinich ran for US President, he said that he would create a Department of Peace. He was nearly laughed off the debate stage, but I never forgot his words and the sentiment behind them, or the fact that his vision was viewed as weak and naive. As the world becomes smaller, no tragedy lies far from our bedside for long. I think we can do something, if not globally, in our small corners (you are in fact an example, Russell, of a man making a difference). We can be advocates of kindness, compassion, reason, and peace, at the expense of bigotry, hate, manipulation, and greed. We must call to account our leaders for self-serving economic policies, fear-based bullying of vulnerable populations, and propping up of brutal regimes because it “serves our national interest.” In the US, we need to take a hard look at our addiction to war.
    Thanks for the thought-provoking post. Got me fired up! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad that this got you fired up, and thank you for your kind words. Indeed, we need to be advocates of kindness, compassion, reason and peace. There are so many loud voices that are counter to that mentality that we need more advocates to show that there is another way. I think the masses let the loud voices of hate cull them into corners of fear that they don’t know there is another, better way.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This makes a whole lot of sense. and is very well written and I agree with what you said. At one point the other day I felt like my prayers weren’t ever going to be big enough to help. But the truth is our is God is huge and and we all do need to unite and stand together. and pray!!!! Like you said it really is our most powerful weapon.

    Liked by 1 person

Start a Conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s