This post has absolutely nothing to do with triathlon. The events around the world over the past few weeks – the terrorist attacks in Beirut, Paris, and Mali – have given me an opportunity to reflect on my own world views and bear witness to the changes that have occurred in me over the past 6 years.
When the two suicide bombers detonated explosives in Bourj el-Barajneh on November 12th, I heard the news and thought, “How sad and how unfortunate.” But in all honestly, I didn’t really think too much about it because that kind of thing just “happens” in the Middle East. It’s so sad, but I guess I’ve just become hardened to it, which horrifies me!
Then, the very next day, coordinated terrorist attacks were carried out in Paris and I watched utterly stunned as bodies were pulled from the Bataclan theater and laid out on the street. I felt much like I felt on 9/11/01 – it was too close to home and it was scary. When I am confronted with something scary, my first reaction is to pull my family close and retreat into our cocoon where we are safe. Apparently, I am not alone in feeling this way. After all the “#Pray4Paris” posts and French flag washed profile pics came and went, I watched my social media walls, the politicians, and the media outlets explode with posts and stories calling for our borders to be sealed off and for our country to turn away people who have been left homeless and hopeless by the violence ISIS has wrought in their homeland. People have even called for registering people who identify as Muslims in a database (Hello, World War II ring ANY bells?). Six years ago, there is no doubt in my mind that my voice would have been loudly in favor of turning away the Syrian refugees – so we would be “safe.”
But here’s the thing: The people who are committing these unspeakable acts of violence against innocent men, women, and children are called “Terrorists” for a reason. They may say that their sole purpose is to wipe the “infidels” from the face of the earth, but that’s a lie – it’s not their sole purpose. One of their major goals is to bully us as badly as we’ll let them and to make us afraid, because when people are afraid they do stupid things – like thinking for one second that the people who mean to do us harm aren’t already here, living among us, waiting… Closing our borders and rounding up the “bad guys” may make us FEEL safer, but we won’t BE safer. In fact, we’ll likely be more at risk than ever before, because we can’t possibly round them ALL up, and in our false sense of “security” we’ll screw up and something catastrophic will happen.
And, in my humble opinion, when the bad guys – the terrorists, in this case – scare us into shedding our humanity, then they win.
We CAN’T let the bad guys win! We cannot allow their callous acts to strip us of our humanity. The way we win is to live our lives… To love our friends and our families… To make new friends and love them too… To be kind to one and other… To be generous with what we have… And to just be awesome all around!
No one ever promised us tomorrow. Tomorrow may or may not come – whose to say? Certainly not I. But I choose to live my life as bravely as I can, with heartfelt gratitude for all the blessings in my life… With love in my heart for my friends and my family… I will not be afraid. I will not let the bad guys steal my peace – I have come too far to find it.
Be kind to one and other… I found this video the other day and it’s really pretty perfect!