faith · pop culture

what I don’t do on this day

I do not despair.

I will always believe there is a reason for everything. It won’t always be pretty or packaged nicely in something I’ll actually understand. I may never know the reason or I may be overwhelmed with the grief of it all. But I also know this life carries with it such terrible experiences which I will never understand or accept and rather than let the darkness prevail, I will cling to the light. I will always choose to cling to the light. I will never let the evil and hatred take hold as long as I am able. I refuse to give in to the diatribes and I won’t be overcome with fear or hopelessness. I believe too much in Love and Grace and that they will win in the end. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

I do not obsess.

I’ve seen the footage a hundred times if not more. I was glued to the TV all day and for several days after. I’ve watched the remembrances, the marches, been to the vigils, lit the candles. I have cried and will cry again today I am sure of it.

But I cannot stay there. I won’t stay there. I understand others need to grieve and revisit. You do what you need to. I am not one who needs to. I will not think any differently of you; think no less of me.

I learned at the age of 15 to move on. Maybe I learned much younger than that, but when I lost my best friend, I learned quickly that I had the power to walk out of the dark rooms of life and into the sunshine. Maybe I learned that when I let go of the past, when I grew a healthy sense of reality and that every day could always be the last for me or someone I love. And the life journey we are all on wouldn’t mean nearly as much if we stay in the dark rooms and weep for too long.

I don’t stay ignorant.

I joined the millions of people who have known suffering on a daily basis throughout the world. I knew this long before 9/11. The shock of something like what happened that day sent many into an irreversible despair, fear, anger, and I couldn’t help but think how sheltered we are – this country, this generation, my generation and all those after me.

The generation before us had Vietnam, Korea, our grandparents had WWII, Pearl Harbor, the Depression. These were not that long ago. These are in our collective memories, though quickly fading as these generations pass on.

My generation should be ashamed of themselves, so self-absorbed and barely registering that life beyond our little suburban townhomes is daily filled with violence and death. We forget that our biggest decision today is what’s for dinner while much of the world population are afraid to go out at night and eat their third bowl of rice for the day.

I am ashamed of my ignorance. I am saddened by my own lack of selflessness, the part of me that would always rather talk about the last episode of zombie shows than real world catastrophe. It’s what we do. We run away and entertain ourselves. Don’t get me wrong. There’s a need for that at times. The world is a dark, dangerous place and it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

But the world is also a beautiful place, filled with good people who rise above. People who love deeply and commit to making the world brighter. These are people I look to and the places where I choose to dwell. And all the things I have and cherish are worth fighting for and more that that, they are gifts that can be taken at any time. They are gifts some people the world over never get. They are gifts that are taken away from others within split seconds. And I for one will strive to always be more and more thankful of all of it, and to realize at what great cost these things come to me.

I do not live in fear.

I refuse to fear people. I refuse to fear politics and governments. I refuse to fear the Evil One who would devour my soul if I gave him the chance. I won’t do it. I won’t fear those who look different from me, who believe differently, who want to see me dead. I won’t fear the enemy whatever form the enemy takes. I won’t fear losing, or winning. I won’t fear the future because I know how this all ends. I know Who wins and nothing will change that. No scheme of man or all of hell can successfully wage war against the One I place my only hope in. I will not forget 9/11 but more importantly I will not forget that I know how this story goes. And I pray for those who do not know this, the ones who grasp for meaning and purpose in it all. I pray they find their hope and that it lasts.

The Lord looks down from heaven;
he sees all the children of man;
from where he sits enthroned he looks out
on all the inhabitants of the earth,
he who fashions the hearts of them all
and observes all their deeds.

The king is not saved by his great army;
a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
The war horse is a false hope for salvation,
and by its great might it cannot rescue.

Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
that he may deliver their soul from death
and keep them alive in famine.

Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
For our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.

– from Psalm 33

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