‘Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.’ Martin Luther
I have a round rock on my desk with a word on it: tranquility. It was given to be by the elderly lady who lived across the street from us during our first years in Kamloops.
It was after little boy’s most violent so far asthma attack when ambulances and fire trucks created the show of bright lights no one wants to be a direct part of. The rock is a reminder that someone cared enough to think of me needing it, then went looking for it and put it in my hand. That our former neighbour is almost blind makes it that much more meaningful.
The rock makes me think of that desirable state every time I pick it up and my thumb caresses over the word, erasing a few more molecules of paint every time, reminding me of how fragile the very concept is and how blinded we are when it comes to finding its meaning or at least stay on the path leading to it. The word eludes me still and, I dare say, most of the people out there.
Today the world got shattered again by two terrorist attacks in Brussels. The shadows are back again. In our world that is, the world where you can walk, on any given day, by a golden daffodil and actually see it without having to fear that a bomb or a bullet might kill you. Yet so many other people in other parts of the world do not get to see their daffodils bloom or they don’t care anymore if they are in bloom or not because life where they are does not allow for it. Today is a reminder of all of that and more.
It’s senseless. The death some humans hurl onto others. History has proven time and time again that hurting will only bring more of the same. The death of the innocent will make some turn to forgiveness and the rest to hatred, which is the unfortunate fuel that powers such attacks and the short unproductive answer to the most unproductive question of all: Why?
Today people were killed in retaliation, following the arrest of a suspect of the Paris attack just four days ago (claimed by the Islamic State). It makes no sense at all to most of us. It only casts a shadow as big and dark as the shadow of crime can be, leaving us bewildered as to how to find our way back to hope and faith in humanity. Tranquility?
That the world has been an unkind place for too long is no secret. We have made it to the moon and back more than once, we have split the atom and yet here we are, still clueless in the face of unexpected violent death that humans inflict upon humans. As much as I want to think that one day such things will not happen, I cannot.
Today is a reminder that we carry both love and hatred in our hearts, light and darkness to use as we see fit, two sides to learn from and employ in our search for meaning. Today will make some more hateful and others less so as they understand that hatred and revenge lower us to below human while pointing to the obvious: we are all the same, capable of both, and the choice of one over the other is what makes us different in how we live.
Today comes with grief and questions. It reminds of death and hope also, and it reminds of how choosing to unload the burden of hatred makes us light enough to carry on with the search for what makes sense.
Today is a day to remember to pray for all of those who suffer as they go to sleep tonight knowing that they’ll wake up without their loved ones, for those who try to not lose their hearts to hatred and for those who are hiding in its dark corners still, ready to take more lives and refusing to understand that meaning will never come from killing and causing someone to suffer. Today tries us and our strength to carry on hoping, yet again and despite of.
Today reminds of the truth we so often forget… The day is all we have, the chance to make it count renewed each day. On any given day, we catch wisps of hope from wherever we can find them and hurry to unravel strands of despair, crushing them as we strive to find our way through shadows and refusing to give in to fear and hatred, because meaning is never to be found in places where they exist.