Sunday, November 15, 2015

Vive la France! A Prayer for True Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité

Lord God, who are Love and Mercy itself, help us reach out to those who are suffering in mind, body, and spirit.  Let us be a listening, compassionate presence to those who have experienced tremendous loss and are grieving.  Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin in each of our hearts and homes.  May it spread far and wide, reaching well beyond borders, languages, religions, and political ideologies in the name of humanity, healing, and hope.  Amen.

Flashbacks of my time in France

In light of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, I’ve been thinking about what it felt like to be overseas when brought to my knees with the shock of the terrorist attacks that took place in the US on 9/11.

Less than two weeks before, Kevin had driven me up to JFK with my huge bags and kissed me goodbye as I set off to spend my junior year in Paris, France. Kevin and I had seen the Twin Towers from a distance, of course, not knowing that the New York skyline would be altered forever in a matter of days.

Increased security and fear were more apparent even over in France after the terrorist attacks took place. We were advised to tell anyone who asked where we were from that we were Canadian or Australian, just to be on the safe side.
In the months to come, I got a bitter taste of the devastation felt in NYC and around the country. It wasn’t the graphic footage or the heart-wrenching stories, but visiting the areas in France that had been bombed during WWII that brought it all crashing home. Some of the churches and structures we saw had never been renovated after the attacks. The ruins, the museums, the photos and videos of places we had walked by just hours before shot through the history books, lectures, dates, and distant places.

For the first time, I got a sense of how horrifying it would be to live in a place where armies were invading, bombs were being dropped, soldiers were coming in tanks…it really scared me.  I would never claim to know how awful war is, but I’m sure that’s when I came the closest to feeling and seeing how terrifying it could be.

My thoughts and prayers are with those in Paris and around the world who are suffering at the hands of cold, heartless people led astray by a legion of lies.  
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