please watch this first: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2S9An4AX0M
Around two years ago, October-November 2015, this video found its way to my Facebook feed. I watched it once. And then I watched it again, and again, because I remember-----more than seven hundred and sixty miles away----I, too, had needed a little bit of comfort. I cannot remember why. Perhaps I was frightened by the attacks, or perhaps by the knowing that there were people in the world out for blood.
Of course, I have always been well-aware of this. I was a child of the late ninety's and a string of terrorist attacks have sewn together every year of my existence. In 1997, the year I was born, suicide bombings in Israel killed more than a dozen people, injuring more than 150. In 1998, life was stolen in the greatest losses as members of Al-Qaeda bombed two US embassies, killing more than 200 and injuring over 4,000. In 1999, a series of bombings in the southwestern Dagestan region in Russia killed nearly 300, injuring more than 1,000 people. They said the turn of the millennium was a relatively peaceful year, but relatives----fathers, mothers, brothers----were torn on that December 30 when a wave of bombings in the Philippians killed 22 and injuring roughly 100. I remember the TV, the tears, the US' greatest loss of life from a foreign attack on September 11, 2001. 2002 was the year of sniper attacks in the mid-Atlantic region. 2003, bombings spiked in Morocco and Israel. In 2004, with the Iraq War headway, the world witnessed the Madrid train bombings with attacks proliferating in Pakistan. 2005: The Middle East experienced the devastating car bob that took 127 lives, followed by the London bus explosion, killing more than 50 people and injuring another 700. And the list of this continues. Year after year, bloodshot red on our maps. In 2015 to 2017, with their attacks in: Nice, France, Orlando, Florida, New York, London, Las Vegas, and I know, many more around the world.
Only a few weeks ago, February 14, did a young man step into Stoneman Douglas High School, Coral Springs, and carry out a school shooting. Seventeen people were killed and fourteen more taken to hospitals. This may not be classified as a terrorist attack per-say, but it is an attack nonetheless. Violent and wrong, it left us afraid.
I know this is not an original story. Families across the globe are living between normal and crisis.
I am afraid of hate. I am afraid of its discrimination. I am afraid of the way it looks to love as a threat, as something to be weighed and counted, evaluated and priced. I am afraid of the way it thinks love is simply a step away from 'legitimised hate.' The way it uses love as a synonym for 'tolerance.' The way it thinks love is an excuse for scandal. I am afraid of the way our skeptical world has chosen to live in its fear. To act in fear.
Love is forgiving, and love is justice. It is the reaching out to the hurting, in-spite----to spite----fear.
Love is the vigils and the flowers and the candles. It is looking for hope even when all seems lost.
As I read and feel the heartbreak, God is reminding me that hope and hurt stand hand-in-hand in the midst of all this. It's false to think we must choose one or the other. Both are true, real, and engaging. They bring loves together as we learn to stand heart-in-heart with the hurting around us. This unity protects us.
The wilderness will sing;
the deserts celebrate and flower, bursting into bloom in the winter in the spring in autumn;
it will be a symphony of song and colour.
to those with an anxious heart, be strong and do not fear.
Hope is a strength within that conquers fear.
Hope reached from sky to sea; it rescued me from the hate that sought to a destroy me. I was already down. Knees and knuckles to the dirt. This hope rewrote the text of my life so that every word was a hymn of glory.