I was going to write about hospice today, but it doesn’t seem right to not acknowledge the horror that took place in Paris last night.
If you haven’t heard, ISIS is claiming responsibility for the seven reported attacks that occurred throughout the City of Love. French President Hollande has characterized it as an act of war and declared a state of emergency. All told, more than 125 people are dead so far, and the count is expected to rise.
And then, as my Facebook feed was quick to tell me, the day before yesterday, there were also suicide bombings in Beirut that left 43 people dead.
Those are just two examples of our world gone mad. A world in which children are tortured and killed, girls are sold off as sex slaves and adults have forgotten how to treat each other with kindness and respect.
Problems we cannot fix
For me, one of the worst things about terrorism is that there is no fix. There are no magic words we can say to these people to make them see the error of their ways. The evil is so engrained on their hearts that they don’t see it as evil; they see it as good.
Even from a government perspective, we’re helpless to change their course. You can’t negotiate peace with someone who thinks violence is a mandate from God.
And I find that desperately frustrating. It’s in my nature to want to fix things, and this is not something I can fix.
I remember that being one of the worst parts of my husband dying. I distinctly remember sitting on our porch swing, waiting for the funeral home to come take his body away and thinking, “There is nothing I can do to make this better.”
Up until that point, there had always been something we could do to put a positive spin on the situation. When Dad could no longer eat and had to rely on a feeding tube, we adjusted family traditions to no longer revolve around food. When Dad could no longer talk, we bought him a white board to write on. When Dad could no longer get out of the house, we had movie marathons in the living room.
But when Dad died, there was nothing else to do. I couldn’t spin this in a positive way. I couldn’t bring him back from the dead. The kids lost their Dad, and their Mom was helpless to do anything about it.
That’s how I feel about terrorism: people are dead, and we are helpless to do anything about it.
Praying: the only thing left to do
At least with other big problems, we can feel like we’re making a difference. We can do things like donating to social organizations or volunteering to be Big Brothers or Sisters. I like to think that even simple things like offering a smile or a friendly gesture to a stranger can help change the world for the better.
However, we can’t do anything with terrorists. We can react and we can defend and we can protect, but we can never be fully safe from people who think the world is better off with us dead.
In times like this, it seems like prayer is all that is left.
And so we pray for comfort for the victims; we pray for peace for their families and countrymen; and we pray that God will do what we cannot: touch the hearts of terrorists and show them truth lies in the light, not in the darkness.