The irony of this is so poignant, it almost hurts...
Last month, I was depressed about turning 50, wishing I could just skip birthdays from now on.
Last month, YA Outside the Lines shared a theme of "Monsters" to align with the Halloween holiday and this month, our theme is "Gratitude" to honor the US holiday of Thanksgiving.
This month, terror attacks in several countries have left us all numb.
So I find myself returning to monsters, the word repeating on infinite loop in my mind following the horrible events of November 12 and 13 around the world, not just in Paris but Lebanon and Syria as well -- for monsters they must surely be. I'm not a political analyst and do not pretend to understand the depth of hatred that can motivate men to cut down other men in the most heinous possible ways. I know only that they intend to spread that hatred by sowing fear.
And I'm afraid.
I'm afraid for us when we thrust our fists in the air, demanding 'these people' be nuked off the face of the planet, or rounded up like cattle and 'shipped back to where they came from'. I'm afraid for us when we shake our heads and lament the gun laws that surely would have resulted in a different outcome if 'only one person was carrying' in that restaurant or concert hall. And I'm afraid for us when we point to the minor and ridiculous things like red cups (and turning 50) and make them into major but still ridiculous fictions like a War on Christmas.
But mostly, I'm afraid for us -- for humanity -- because we are surely at war and it's a war against humanity, only we're too caught up in our fear and in our outrage to realize we've become hypocrites, screaming for retaliation and justice and action that expresses the same hatred and fear we vow to stop...
I'm afraid, deeply afraid that there's only one way this war will ever stop.... and that's when all of humanity is extinguished.
So, yes, that gives me so much to be grateful for....for the service men and women who faithfully carry out the orders that protect us, for the government officials whose every action isn't just scrutinized, it's second-guessed and criticized on Saturday Night Live and every social network account across the world; for the clergy who remind us that our faith should NOT be used as the basis for hate and vengeance, but for love and acceptance; for people -- every day, ordinary people who go on with their days, refusing to cower in fear and hate entire groups of people because some cowardly group of radicals pulled some strings to make us do so.
I'm grateful to you for reading these words because I'm nobody -- I'm not a world leader or a diplomat...I'm just somebody on a blog whose words can't fit inside her heart right now. I mourn with the rest of the world for the innocent lives murdered and I am grateful, so profoundly grateful for all the people who refuse to hate.