Orginially published in the Hillsboro Free Press, 11.18.2015
The photos are from our interterm trip to Europe in 2004
I spent Sunday afternoon watching the 1968 version of Disney’s “The Love Bug” and eating cake and ice cream with my family. We were trying something new...gathering on my brother’s would-have-been 27th birthday rather than remembering alone.
It was great to DO something, and plans were already formed for next year.
But in the time my family took an active step forward as a unit, across the world, a new reality began.
France bombed Syria.
In a way, I get it. Many lives were changed in Paris last week. People are mourning and walking in new normals that absolutely don’t feel OK. I know that feeling.
It’s nearly impossible to think clearly outside of the tragedy. Shockwaves are relentless and often overpowering. Grief is cloudy.
I made terrible decisions after my brother died. I was full of resentment.
Right now the world is hungry for retaliation. And I’m fearful of where that might lead.
That’s not to say I don’t mourn with Paris. It was a heinous act. I have wonderful friends currently making their home in Paris, and the events there are close to my heart. I continue to pray for Paris and the work being done in the city of lights.
But I also mourn for those who are consumed with hate and died without hope, and for those who celebrate violence.
I mourn with Beirut, and with all the refugees without a country and a home, and with the families of those on the crashed Russian passenger plane.
I mourn for the day-to-day losses that don’t even make the headlines.
The world hurts.
There’s a portion of a poem by Warsan Shire that I have seen repeatedly shared over social media since the attacks on Paris:
“later that night
i held an atlas across my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
where does it hurt?
That’s the truth. I don’t even have to walk out my own door to know that hurt. I bet I could knock on any door in this community--this county--and find that hurt. Listen closely, and you can hear the hurt groaning.
But that’s not the end.
The restoration I am finding at the foot of the cross is available to the whole hurting, groaning world. My hope is knowing that I am made for more than brokenness.
My joy is the Gospel. The “glorious unfolding” of Christ in my life.
God created us to be unified with Him.
Sin breaks that unity and good deeds don’t erase the muck. Without the Gospel, hate abounds, consumed in violence and destruction and death. Separation from the Creator forever.
But the Gospel--everywhere it whispers fullness and hope and life.
Jesus came to die to bring life...to me, to you, to His beloved world. Everyone who places their trust in Jesus...Him alone...receives life everlasting. Life to the fullest. A life with Jesus that starts now and goes forever.
The world hurts everywhere.
I know that hurt. I’ve felt it deep in my marrow.
But I’m able to wholeheartedly resonate with St. Patrick:
“Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.”
Won’t you join me in this reality?