There are days when I get frustrated over the stupid things that people do: the messes that fully grown adults can leave in their wake at the office; the person who insists on tailgating on the highway even when there’s no place for the person in front of them to go; the people who get upset over coffee cups. Earlier today I actually found myself thinking of posting on Facebook: I may be forced to suffer fools on a regular basis, but I will never do it gladly.
None of that seems very important tonight. Not when there are at least 150 families – probably thousands of family members and friends – in mourning tonight.
I’ve always had a hard time understanding the mindset that allows one person to feel entitled to take another person’s life, whether it’s in the name of religion, or politics or just plain lust for violence. I read a lot of Tudor history, and when I read about the people tortured or put to death without any apparent remorse it almost seems impossible that anyone could have such a lack of respect for their fellow man. It can make you feel somewhat superior at times: We’re so much more evolved than that. We would never have people burned at the stake because they practiced the “wrong” religion!
And yet, over and over again that’s proven wrong. There have always been, and it seems there will likely always be people who can steal life without a second thought.
Tonight as we watched the news reports, my ten-year-old daughter came and asked what was happening. We explained as best we could, but she started asking even more questions, and making observations that made us realize that this is the first time she is truly old enough to understand an event like this.
I wondered: will she have nightmares tonight? Will this be something she remembers later in life? Will she worry every time I go to work that I won’t come home that night? Will she worry that someone will hurt her? What do I tell her?
And this is what I decided.
I will tell her that yes, there are bad people in this world: people who want to hurt us simply for the fact that we are different; people who hate other people simply based on what religion they choose to practice, or the fact that they don’t practice any religion at all; people who have so much anger and violence in their hearts that there is no room for love.
But they are the exception to the rule. The vast majority of people in this world are good, and kind, and loving. They want to help others, not hurt them. They go to work, buy groceries, visit their extended family members on the weekends, play together, laugh together, and love each other. They just want to get through the day, pay their bills, and keep a roof over their heads.
So no matter how scary life may be, the important thing is to be one of those people. No matter how hard the exceptions try to convince you to hate, keep love in your heart. Yes, there is bad in life.
Choose to be the good.
My prayers are with you tonight, Paris.