World, I’m sorry you’re hurting.
I’m sorry your babies are dying. I’m sorry you’re being torn apart by a few haters of you and your people and the love that makes you go ‘round and ‘round.
I don’t quite know what to do.
I don’t quite know how to feel or how to act or what to say when really horrific things happen to your people—my sisters, my brothers. I freeze.
Many are saying: “I’m not scared. We’re not scared. We can’t be scared.”
But I don’t believe them, World, because I’m scared.
I’m scared for your future and I’m scared for all of our futures and, most of all, I’m scared for the future of my little boy and all of the other little boys and girls who will inherit you and all of the mess that’s been created in you, in the name of I-don’t-know-what.
I don’t want to hate, World.
I don’t want to become one of the haters, but I’m finding it really hard to put on a brave “love wins” face right now.
I’m finding it really hard to let my broken heart shine bright, even though that’s what she does best, you know—this heart of mine, she’s a firefly.
But maybe, right now, it’s OK not to shine. Maybe it’s OK to just be scared. To just be scared and angry and really, really sad. To just sit on the couch, crying, for those who got dressed up on Friday night, in Paris, and headed to a famous concert hall, only to be gunned down a few hours later.
And for those who, days earlier, were on the streets of Beirut, perhaps shopping at the market with their children, when a bomb went off, leaving nothing but corpses and terror in its wake.
Crying, too, for the fact that I didn't even hear about the tragedy in Beirut, until the tragedy in Paris happened. (What does this say about you, World? About us? About the value we place on some lives and not on others?)
All of this breaks me, World.
It makes it hard for me to breathe. It makes it hard for me to trust in the innate kindness of your people. And it makes it hard for me to believe—really believe—that love wins.
But then, World, I do what I always do when I feel lost: I close my eyes.
I place my hand on my chest.
I breathe into my belly.
And even though it’s hard at first, it gets easier. The breaths get deeper and longer and, in time, I feel myself settle. Everything slows down: breath, hearbeat, racing brain.
Just like that, I’m in my safe space again—that space, inside, where I go to find comfort when you, World, become a bit too crazy for me.
It is here, in the hush, that I reconnect to the real Knowing so often buried underneath all of the false knowing. It is here, in the hollow, that I can see the Light so often obstructed by darkness . It is here, in the clearing, that Courage lives—the kind of courage that can never, ever be crushed by fear.
This is where God lives, too.
This is where Love lives.
(And, World, just so we’re clear: In my version of life and life-after-life, God and Love are the Yin and Yang aspects of the exact same thing.)
And even though I’m a bit too scared and angry and sad right now to feel the full force of that capital-L-Love, I still know it’s there.
With my eyes closed and my breath steady, I can feel it. It’s like a soft current gathering strength underneath rough waters, quietly but consistently pulsing, gently reminding me of its presence and its power.
And when I open my eyes, twenty minutes later, I realize that I feel just a little bit stronger than I did before, a little bit braver, and like I carry just a little bit more capital-K-Knowing in my body.
World, this is what I know for sure:
I know that Muslims are not to blame for the terror running rampant in this world and I know that there is confusion about this, but I know that I will keep standing up for my Muslim friends as they would stand up for me.
I know that there are more of us who are praying for peace and working for peace and singing for peace and fighting for peace than there are who are rejoicing in these senseless acts of violence.
I know that fighting for peace is an oxymoron—that dropping bombs over entire villages only adds to the brutality and does nothing to ease it (if it did, we would have seen some sort of progress by now, 14 long years after this "war on terror" was started). I know that war is terrorism with a bigger budget.
I know that there are many who disagree with me on this, and that that is their right. I honour their voices, too.
I know that there are more of us who are opening doors for those who are running and who need a safe place to sleep tonight than there are who are locking doors and barring windows.
I know that there are more of us who are hurting right now than there are who are celebrating—and I know that this is a very good thing.
Because we are hurting together, World.
We are your people and we love you and we love each other and we are hurting together.
We are your people and we are kind.
We are resilient.
We are very, very brave.
And maybe, today, we are just too scared and angry and sad to feel very, very brave.
Maybe, today, we are feeling pulled towards hate (because fear does this, you know) but maybe—if we close our eyes, if we find our breath, if we listen to our wise, wise hearts—we will all feel a little bit braver tomorrow.
Brave enough to believe—really believe—that love wins.
We are your people, World, and we are trying.
We are imperfect and we make mistakes all the time, but we are trying. And we’ll keep trying, together. We’ll keep healing, together. We’ll keep lifting each other up and teaching each other how to love again.
Our shattered hearts will keep shining, World. Don’t you worry. They will.
Our hearts will continue to light up the night.
We are your people, World.
Your army of fireflies.