I think it is fair to say the this world is having problems just now. The wars that have raged across the globe are suddenly very close to home. The hidden threat, the fear of attack, the unknown plots are unsettling and worrying for all. Surely that is the point of terror(ists). They want people to be afraid. to be afraid of dying whilst eating dinner, of being shot at a stadium or blown up in a bank. Once again all of the above are tangibly close, it could happen to any of us. What on earth can we do?
Well I guess we have options. We can choose to stay home, to minimise our risk of threat, to view strangers as enemies and to watch endless news coverage of the reasons why this maybe happening and what should we do. Let me say right now, I have no problem with anyone making that choice. The threats are real, the world is not as safe today as it may once have been, and just now, at this time, perhaps, the sensible option is to stay close to family and friends.
Another option is to just get on with life. Easier said than done I know, but life is actually for living, and a life well lived is the best answer to all the negativity in the world. To choose to be, to continue being you, is an option worth taking. To explain (again) to friends and family that despite the horror around us, it is still ok to try to help each other. It is still ok to reach across Europe and do what ever you can to make things a little bit better. Because we can and if we can, maybe we should.
As I write this I have a friend who is today on an island far from home, where she is providing fun and smiles for children whose world fell apart many months ago. They have lived through things that no one should ever have to experience. She is blowing bubbles and making shakers, she is creating fun out of very little and she is doing it because she can.
Another couple of friends are also heading off to an island this weekend, where they will unload a container full of wonderful, practical stuff, shoes and boots, socks – lots of socks, nappies and a hundred other things that will make life a little kinder for people who have been displaced, and for whom home is no longer an option. The magic is that these friends have also been part of the effort to fill the container, to organise ordinary people into doing what is necessary, one bag of jumpers at a time.
Why are all these people doing this? They are doing it because they care, because they good people and most importantly of all because they can.
So, my message to those who would bomb and shoot is to think on, think on and consider what you are doing. The universal truth is that most people are good people, most want exactly the same out of life. Be they Christian or Atheist, Muslim or Hindu, they are all, as we are, Humans first. Think hard about who is being manipulated in all of this? Consider strongly who is making money and who is driving the hatred? Always look for the narrator. Who is telling this story, and what is their agenda?
There is money to be made in war. There is benefit in divide and rule, there is a place for fear in a world where people need to be controlled in order for the narrator to tell the story. While we are told to be afraid of each other, what are we missing? What agenda is being served to all of us and why is this happening now?
I am not sure I have any answers, but I am sure of this. No matter what happens I will go on living my life and doing the things I need to do. I will not lose sleep worrying about the safety of my loved ones, for worrying never made a difference to anything, any time.
I will continue to make friends across the world, to celebrate our solidarity and to cheer on those making a difference. I will be collecting and sorting and shipping goods to make life better. I will be debating and being occaisonally frustrated with negative attitudes. I will continue to persuade and cajole others to come on this journey with me. I will sort socks into boots and pack bags with love and care. I will send my own positive love and hope out into the world and wait for it to return. Why will I do all of this? I will do it because I can.
I am choosing not to be scared. I am choosing to put hope ahead of fear and I will change the world for someone, one bag of aid at a time. How wonderful if the result of all the sadness and madness is that we all start working together, that we find our other selves, across the country and across the world. That we understand a little more of what it is like to be different and how we can help each other.
Together we will do this, because together we can.