Monday, November 16, 2015

Thoughts on the Terrorist Attacks from a 20-Something Year Old

I think, in my young American life, this is the first time that something "big" has ever hit me so hard. Yes, I was alive during 9/11 but it did not seem real to me. It was on the TV. And everything on the TV was fake, right?

It's not just Paris. There have been attacks all over the world recently. There have been so many natural disasters in just the past 6 months. There are thousands of victims of other circumstances - homelessness, domestic violence, bullying. And it's hitting me all at once.

There is a feeling of hopelessness that comes over me every time I think about the terrible recent events. What am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to take care of the millions of children who will sleep on the streets tonight? How am I supposed to raise the funds for new homes that hurricanes and earthquakes have destroyed? What am I supposed to say to those who have lost loved ones? What is expected of me?

Nothing. Nothing is expected of me. Actually no, I'm expected to change my profile picture to France's colors to show my support. And I understand why..but what about the mass shooting in Kenya? What about the earthquakes that happened over the summer in Nepal - where people are STILL struggling to survive day-to-day? There are too many disasters for me to change my profile picture to one country's colors and not feel guilty about it. I do support France, but I support everyone else, too. Changing my picture to France's colors feels like I'm brushing every other attack under the rug, and I don't feel comfortable doing that.

And even if I did change my profile picture, I know that I would not feel any better. The uneasiness and the fear that is inside my heart as I blindly scroll through dozens and dozens of articles about ISIS and bombings and terrorist attacks has not gone away since Friday. I scroll, I scroll, I scroll. Because all I have in front of me is my screen and since I can't do anything, I just want to know everything.

If you look at my recent internet history, it will show you that instead of sleeping, I am googling ISIS and instead of taking my lunch break, I am reading CNN articles. I scroll, I scroll, I scroll.

I had plans to go to the gym today. But my heavy heart screamed at me because there are thousands of people in this world who would give anything to have a "normal" day today. To have a day where they wake up early, go to work, and then hit the gym on the way home. This "normal" life that I have lived daily suddenly fills me with feelings of selfishness. Who am I to have this "perfect" life? Who am I to live life "normally" even after these attacks?

I am changed inside. Part of me wishes that I could go back to normal and absentmindedly go for a run and then shop at some thrift stores before going home to cook myself a vegan, gluten-free meal. I cringe at myself.

But the other part of me is thankful for this chance to grow up. For this opportunity for me to actually, literally, physically get down on my knees before God and PRAY. For those who are directly affected, for the countries who have some serious decisions to make, for the fear that is consuming so many people's lives. To repent for those who have made terrible comments, ignorant posts about how it's a certain religion's fault or it's a certain country's fault. To ask God to give me wisdom, because I don't know what to do. There is nothing I can do.

All I can do is pray. And scroll, and scroll, and scroll.

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