Along with every other person in the world today, I am so distraught over the atrocities that took place in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. If you’re not distraught, you should probably check your pulse. When I first heard the news my mind immediately flashed back to just over a year ago when I was strolling the charming streets of Paris alone, without a care in the world. It was hard not to be mesmerized as I took in the sights, the eccentric culture and rich history (oh, and immense amount of pastries).
One of my favorite memories was the hours I spent roaming Shakespeare and Company, the century-old bookstore that has housed 30,000 aspiring writers and artists over time. I was so flabbergasted that writers like Ernest Hemingway and artists like Claude Monet came to Paris for the sole purpose of finding inspiration. This is how I like to think of Paris: The city that awakens the soul. I guess it’s called the City of Light for a reason.
The romantic memories quickly vanished, as I was flooded with thoughts of what this city looked like at the current moment. I don’t think I’m alone when I say the hardest concept to grasp regarding this tragedy is how such evil is possible. How can someone have so much hate in their heart that they violently kill innocent people? I’m not stupid – I know this isn’t the first time in history that unfathomable evil has existed. I guess it’s just the first time I’m old enough to actually reflect on what’s happened and wonder why.
I suppose it’s probably not in anyone’s best interest to wonder why. There is no reason WHY something like this should happen. It is pure evil – absolutely heinous behavior. Instead of wondering why, I find peace and gratitude in knowing that the God I worship is a God of pure love. Not one that wants believers to kill innocent people in order to be accepted and loved.
I am certainly not one to post about politics, religion or controversy in general. That’s really not my realm. But I did feel inspired to write about this. The world is mourning for all of the lives lost, as we should be. With that being said, one feeling that has resonated with me the most in the past 24 hours is unity. Seeing the colors of the French flag across multiple social media platforms and across the world makes my eyes watery. On January 7th I posted the following quote after hearing of the first terror attack in Paris:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
–Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
While it’s easy to feel defeated after such a horrific event, I think it’s more important than ever to believe in the power of love. As individuals we may see ourselves as only one person but it only takes one person to make a wave. Be a light in a world that can be so dark sometimes. Be a light to your family, your friends, your neighbors, coworkers and even to strangers. And most importantly, be thankful for every little thing in your life. If an event like this doesn’t make you realize just how quickly things can change, I don’t think anything will.