13, November, 2015


I’ve been trying to think of what to say about what happened in Paris last Friday night. I know whatever I put down here will never be adequate.

Terrorists attacked the city.  I hate calling them terrorists. It feels like it gives them some sort of status…like I’m buying into their propaganda. I prefer to call them what they are…murderers.  Whatever we choose to call them, these people laid siege to the city for just over two hours and forty minutes and left 129 people dead and over 350 injured.

At first, we were all just in shock. Numb. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing on the news. We felt helpless, trapped, afraid. Next came an almost palpable sadness…a citywide despair that is just now transitioning into resolution, determination and strength.

Surprisingly absent was any feeling of rage. How do you feel rage at these pathetic, brainwashed kids? They’re nothing more than attack dogs. They were twisted and manipulated by a few power-hungry zealots, who gleefully sacrifice the lives of children in order to further their own ambitions. My anger is reserved for them and them alone.

There is one thing that has become so clear to me – one thing I feel right to my bones. And it has brought me a huge amount of comfort. It’s deceptively simple, so much so that it sounds naive or annoyingly optimistic, but it’s not. Here it is.  LOVE ALWAYS WINS.

My husband and I had so many people trying to find us, to see if we were safe, sending us their prayers, their love, worrying about us. I was humbled by the river of love that flooded our way. I thought to myself, most people never know how much they mean to the rest of us. For some reason, we tend to save that for funerals. Why? I wonder.

I read a 22-year-old girl’s account of her being held hostage in that concert hall on Friday night. She said that the terrorists were executing people as fast as they could. She lay among the dead and dying for over an hour, pretending to be dead herself, hoping that they wouldn’t see her breathing, hoping that she wouldn’t be next.

The thing that struck me most about her story wasn’t her descriptions of the violence, although those were horrifying. The part I will always remember – was what she said about the last moments of the people around her. She heard a young couple whispering “I love you” to each other as they both bled out on the floor. She spoke of a man, who risked his life to crawl over and cover her face while she lay whimpering, so the terrorists wouldn’t see that she was still alive.

And absolutely sure that she was going to die herself, she said that it was almost like there was a video playing in her head non-stop – of the people she loved. She kept seeing them in her mind’s eye, one at a time, and whispering to each of them, “I love you, I love you, I love you.” I pray that each of the victims were comforted by those same thoughts in their final moments – those same images running through their heads. I hope with all my heart that the people they loved were there with them – at the end.

After I read her story, I remembered the phone messages from the people in the World Trade Center on 9/11. They were the same. Hundreds of people, knowing that they weren’t going to make it out alive, calling their wives, husbands, children, parents…to say “I love you” one last time. Their last thoughts were of love…not terrorists.

I don’t think saying “Love Always Wins” makes me naive or weak. That declaration makes me feel strong. It makes me feel powerful and courageous. Love, is how I fiercely defend myself against hatred. And love requires much more strength, especially at times like these.

There will always be bullies in this world…thugs…punks. And when they attack you, hate isn’t what gives you the courage to fight back. Love is. You have to love yourself enough to stand up and defend what matters. That’s what Paris will do. That’s what the world has always done.

The morning after this attack in Paris, I reminded my friends that terrorism has a 100% failure rate. It always strengthens what it tries to destroy. Always.

Sunday, the churches in Paris were standing room only. We prayed for those who were murdered, for those who were injured, and for the doctors who treated them. We prayed with gratitude – that love existed in the midst of the horror. We prayed to be better people.

I pray we will all be better people. I pray that we will use this atrocity as a lesson – to tell the people we love how much they mean to us every chance we get. I pray we will learn to love better. I pray we will remember that LOVE ALWAYS WINS.

We could allow ourselves to be afraid, to cower from these pathetic, little people who try to make their God as small and petty as they are. They believe God is a vindictive war-monger who enjoys murder as sport. But, they’re wrong.  And I’m not going to cower. Paris…isn’t going to cower. Paris is going to live, and laugh, and love, and be grateful for every moment we have.

“Life is not waiting for the storm to stop, life is learning how to dance in the rain.”

We choose to dance.

8 thoughts on “13, November, 2015

  1. Grace, your letter touched me deeply as well as others who read it, You have the ability to express your feeling very eloquently. We all felt betrayed by those crazy, twisted minds mass murderers.
    While hate breeds hate, we should always remember that LOVE conquers all fears.


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