I do not know a person that does not want to see an end to terror. We do not want to see bombs explode in our neighborhoods nor do we want to see it happen in far away places. We do not want to hear of violence, death, horrific acts against others. These things do not belong in the world.
I have settled on something for myself over the last few days. I have spent time watching news briefings, scanning social media, following public discussions, hearing Senator’s arguments and letting tears fall as the world literally lit up in support for a country that was grieving. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the response I will have to terror is to defy it.
In defiance of terror I will choose to love others as well as I can.
In defiance of terror I will choose joy whenever I can.
In defiance of terror I will express gratitude and grief.
In defiance of terror I will accept the people around me.
If terrorism is meant to instill fear, I will choose faith in humanity.
If terrorism is spreading violence, I will choose to act in peace.
When the bombings happened a week ago in Paris a hashtag began circulating: #PorteOuverte. Open Door. The hashtag sent a message to those that needed a safe place that there were safe places for them. It meant that strangers were standing next to each other and supporting each other, it meant that when the option to close the windows and lock the doors and shelter the self was there, people chose the opposite and opened their doors to people in need. I love #PorteOuverte and all it stands for.
In defiance of terror I want to live #PorteOuverte.
And in defiance of terror I want to live #PorteCoeur – Open Heart.
For me, it isn’t only about our doors being open, or our borders being open, or our states being open. It is about our hearts being open. If our hearts our open, then naturally we take in those who are suffering. If our hearts our open, then without hesitation we receive those in need. If our hearts our open, then the debate over who is allowed in our country ends and we respond to humanity with humanity. If our hearts are open we stop on the path for the person in need whether we know them or not. If our hearts our open we bring our best offerings to the place of grief and we walk away loving and accepting and feeling for those around us with even greater depth.
In defiance of terror I will not let my love grow cold.
There are those that say it is unsafe to welcome refugees into our country. To them I say it is inhumane not to. Responding to inhumanity with inhumanity will not bring us to a better place.
There are those that say that it is a fight we must bring to the table. To them I say we must find a way to bring peace – to diffuse instead of fuel.
There are those that say that isolating ourselves is the only way to ensure a safe future. To them I say that isolation is just another form of destruction – an implosion to save us from explosions. What the world needs now is restoration.
These are the things I am choosing. I know that others will disagree, but when explosions rattled Paris it was humanity that united the world and, now, we must first see others as human and we must respond with the deepest level of humanity.