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.
(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.
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