Friday night, my best friend and I had a sleepover and were planning on doing some crafts. We found ourselves, however, glued to our phones scrolling through post after post about the attacks happening at that very moment in France. It was internet rubbernecking:we couldn’t not look, even though the possibility of seeing the pain and death was terrifying. Finally, Melaney put her phone down and said “I can’t anymore, let’s watch New Girl.” We watched Netflix the rest of the night, never touching our crafts, because we were hurting. We were hurting for our friends and family in Paris, we were scared for ourselves, we were looking evil right in the face. We remembered 9/11, painfully close-by, as you can see the Freedom Tower right from her apartment. So we watched New Girl, because what else could we do that night?
If you’re hurting right now, take heart. We are all hurting. Some have been hurting for a long time. Some were rudely awakened by the attacks in Paris. We are all heartbroken because our world is not as beautiful as we can imagine it in our heart of hearts.
This is a good thing. It’s good that you have this nagging, painful feeling in your very soul that there shouldn’t be this pain, this suffering of any of our brothers and sisters. Each heartbeat is crying out because we use our own hands to hurt those around us. Wrap yourself up in this fire inside you. Use that fire to light the world with love, because that, my friends, is what we need.
You may see people in your community that are extra shaken by these events. You may see some who are angry, desperately looking for a way to find some justice. These are the moments that community becomes a crucial catalyst of healing for our world.
You know that feeling I mentioned earlier – of what could Melaney and I possibly do at that moment? It’s expected that each of us can feel helpless in the face of such a large threat. But the truth is, we can do a lot. We can be our best selves and reach out a hand to our neighbors, friends, and strangers. It is up to you to show those around you that you love them and will lift them up when they fall.
You might think that you’re in the wrong place to help, or that you aren’t brave enough to go and help in the middle of the danger. But the truth is, you are in the exact place you are needed right now. Wherever you go, you are needed. You are needed to help, heal, love, and listen. YOU are needed to bring peace to a world that desperately needs it.
So take heart, my friends. Your community needs you to smile, be extra kind to a stranger, and to sacrifice your time to hold a friend who is crying. Before we reach for the whys, the ideals, or the politics, let us simply reach for each other.
My friends and I made a Spotify playlist, inspired by a friend who posted Where Is the Love? by the Black Eyed Peas on their Facebook page. I called this playlist Choose To Love, and I hope it helps you find that place in your heart where you transform pain into an opportunity for peace.
This was originally posted on the Swift Kick HQ blog.