Those words. They were the closing sentence on a poignant post about the Pulse Nightclub shooting in June, and they’ve been stuck in my head ever since.
I can recall the first time I encountered terrorism. I was 16 and standing in front of a Monet painting at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, absorbing all I could from each brush stroke. I was seeing what I couldn’t see in an art history book and I was in heaven. Out of nowhere, French police were herding museum visitors in lines to the exits as quietly as a building evacuation could be. We were speculating about fire drills or faulty fire alarms as we abandoned our tour and headed for the exits.
My French was good, but not good enough to understand everything that was being said around me. I was confused as were most of the guests. It wasn’t until we were outside that we finally heard what was happening – someone had called in a bomb threat to the museum.
No one used the T-word that day. There were no explosions. I had no idea what might have been. I was a teenager mad about about missing out.
Just over a year later, I watched in horror as planes flew into buildings. I sat on my porch with my family listening to fighter planes flying over head. I felt the world change around me. A day like that doesn’t just get brushed away. It was terrifying. It was overwhelmingly sad. And it keeps happening.
I’ve watched in horror as terrorists have brought guns to movie theaters and churches. I’ve been angry as they shot children and people out to celebrate. A hate monger is running for president. Hate seems to have bubbled up just about everywhere I look.
But if you look past the headlines, you can see healing. People offering to ride public transit with Muslim women in Australia. Counter-protesters with angel wings blocking the nonsense of the Westboro Baptist Church.
The point? In all this darkness, you need to be the light. Small, quiet gifts of hope add up and don’t cost a thing.