Last night I was sitting in a Bob Evans restaurant with my husband and three children waiting anxiously for our food, because after our meal I was going to visit my 90-year-old grandma in the hospital. She broke her hip this week and had surgery yesterday. I was feeling very sad about that, and also overwhelmed because this morning I am throwing a birthday party for my soon-to-be nine-year-old and a couple dozen of her closest friends. Work had been crazy this week and I was tired and stressed, overwhelmed, and sad. And then I clicked my phone screen on, a sad reflex these days, and saw the news: Paris attacked. Six different coordinated attacks on unsuspecting civilians.
Over 150 dead.
Perspective, courtesy of cold-blooded terrorists who pumped bullets into over 100 people without saying a word, according to witnesses.
Heaven help us.
Jesus, come back.
My perspective shifted instantly. The sadness became more pervasive, became grief, became empathy. I looked at my three beautiful, healthy children. My stress about my to-do list melted away. I get to throw a birthday party for one of my babies tomorrow, and tonight, scores of mothers are now planning funerals.
Paris is a world away, and though I was a French minor in college, I’ve never been. I speak just a tiny smattering of their language (badly) but I know enough to say this: Paris, mon coeur est brisé. Paris, my heart is broken. Je suis Paris. I am Paris.
Scores of people were killed last night because they pursue a life of freedom that certain vitriol-filled terrorist groups cannot abide. And so they kill innocent people—they kill sons and daughters—they tote powerful guns and pause to re-load again and again because they despise our freedom. Americans, we love our freedom, right? So what’s happening in France is really NOT a world away. The French are despised for their freedom, and so are we. We, in this, are the same.
I did not tell my children about the attacks as we sat around the table. They dipped their french fries in ketchup and drank chocolate milk from a bendy straw and I thought—”Oh Lord Jesus, please protect them!”
Because I know I cannot.
If you are a parent, you know what it is to have your heart walking around outside of your body. Parents in the United States need to pray for the parents in France mourning their sweet babies, even if they were grown adults. And we need to pray that the hearts of those plotting terror around the world are changed. Because truly I believe only a miracle of God can do that. My hope is in Christ. My prayers are with Paris.
And my support is with the efforts that will actively seek to stop, apprehend, and bring to justice those who would use terror to kill those who simply want to be free. Parents, let’s tell our governments that we want these terrorists PURSUED.
Last night Parisians gathered with signs that said “NOT AFRAID”. I am also not afraid. I will not let terror keep me from living life to the full. As my babies lick the french-fry salt off their fingers, unaware of the grief in my heart, a new resolve sparks within me. Let’s live our lives in honor of the victims who no longer can. And parents, let’s teach our children to LOVE and that ALL are loved and valued simply because they are human. Start with that basic truth, and we can have a terror-free world one day.