I awoke the morning after the attacks on Paris with a heaviness on my body I've grown too familiar with. The morning after the loss of a friend, family member, or after a tragic world event, there is this micro-millisecond of blissful oblivion. I start to wake as if it were any other day

The Morning After

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I awoke the morning after the attacks on Paris with a heaviness on my body I've grown too familiar with. The morning after the loss of a friend, family member, or after a tragic world event, there is this micro-millisecond of blissful oblivion. I start to wake as if it were any other day

I awoke the morning after the attacks on Paris with a heaviness on my body I’ve grown too familiar with. The morning after the loss of a friend, family member, or after a tragic world event, there is this micro-millisecond of blissful oblivion. I start to wake as if it were any other day, another blank slate of opportunity for my kids and me to write our memories on. Then, the force of grief and concern stonewall my oblivion. The morning after the Paris attacks, I went downstairs and stumbled through making coffee. As I sat down to social media, the replay of the assaults flashed on the TV in front of me. Aimlessly searching for a distraction or some assurance online, I found nothing. The fun posts felt vapid and tasteless. The recounts of the horrors and conjecture about future simply underscored my feelings of uneasiness. Giving up on the possibility my phone held something satisfying, I watched the news. My heart continued to break for those recounting the terror they experienced. Each tear accentuated the enormity of this situation. The French President, Francois Hollande’s address cut through my rumination of my sadness.

Ce que nous défendons, c’est notre patrie, mais c’est bien plus que cela, ce sont les valeurs d’humanité… Dans cette période si douloureuse, si grave, si décisive pour notre pays, j’en appelle à l’unité, au rassemblement, au sang-froid… La France est forte et même si elle peut être blessée, elle se lève toujours et rien ne pourra l’atteindre même si le chagrin nous assaille. La France, elle est solide, elle est active. La France, elle est vaillante et elle triomphera de la barbarie.

While we are defending our homeland, it is so much more than that. We are defending the values of humanity… In such a painful, grave, decisive time for our country, I call on you for unity, to rally against cold-bloodedness… France is strong. And, even though, we may be hurt, we will always stand-up again. Nothing will extinguish this, even when upset besieges us. France is solid; it is active. France is valiant, and we will triumph over barbarity.

 

I awoke the morning after the attacks on Paris with a heaviness on my body I've grown too familiar with. The morning after the loss of a friend, family member, or after a tragic world event, there is this micro-millisecond of blissful oblivion. I start to wake as if it were any other day
The answer was right there. While, I can’t pretend to be proficient in global or even national politics for that matter. And, I can’t pretend that I know how to infiltrate an ideology of terror. While I don’t know how to put in motion a plan of peace, or how to pay adequate respect to those who passed, or how to repair the grief of those who have lost loved ones, we do have choice. In the face of tragedy, we have the ability choose both our responses and course of action. We can choose to lament and perpetuate fear, or we can choose an approach of resilience. In times of turmoil, we can choose to let the uncertainty and gravity consume us, or we can choose to hope. While I don’t think genuine emotion can be decided away and I don’t think we can choose to avoid grief or raw emotion, I do think we can choose our attitudes, approach, and our demonstrations of tenacity. In times of immense turmoil, we can choose a spirit of resiliency. We can pay it forward with acts of kindness. We can take inventory of what we are grateful for regularly. We can choose to approach each day as a gift that isn’t guaranteed for tomorrow. We can choose to seize the day with our young families and make the most of each moment before it passes. We can choose unity amongst those closest to us and love. We can choose acceptance for those who are estranged. We can show compassion, hospitality, and love.

While we can feel powerless seeing images of death and destruction broadcast across all forms of media, we have the opportunity to choose life.

 
What were your thoughts after the attack on Paris?
 
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22 thoughts on “The Morning After

  1. It is so sad that these types of violence are so frequent these days! I love this “We can choose to seize the day with our young families and make the most of each moment before it passes. We can choose unity amongst those closest to us and love. We can choose acceptance for those who are estranged. We can show compassion, hospitality, and love.”

  2. First of all, this was a magnificent piece. Love it. My thoughts on Paris? Initially, I was solely heartbroken. It’s been a rough month and I was on the verge of checking out. I spent the better part of Saturday contemplating the legacy I want to leave because events like this are a morbid reminder of how drastically life can change in an instant. But now, am looking for the good in everything. My faith in humanity was restored when I saw on the news that there are hashtags on Twitter that people can follow to find shelter. What the terrorists did is devastating, but to see people support and care and positively reach out to each other brings me peace. Maybe it’s denial, I don’t know, but I need that sense of peace in my life right now.

  3. Alana, this is beautiful. I agree, the only way to combat hatred is with love, and understanding and compassion. It’s hard not to be scared, but if we live our lives in fear and darkness, then the terrorists get exactly what they wanted.

  4. Working at a news station I feel like I am surrounded by the most heartbreaking stories ALL the time. I am always worried something bad is going to happen because of it, but I just try to be thankful for every moment and trust in God. It is just such a scary time and it makes me sad for my children.

  5. So beautifully written. Its hard to go online or turn the morning news on because there is always something awful going on. I agree though, I choose to LIVE. I will NOT live in fear because then these people win.

  6. Beautifully written, Alana. I have to admit that I haven’t paid a ton of attention to the media on the attacks in Paris. Not at all because I’m being ignorant, but because it tears my heart into pieces every time I hear about another act of terror, school shooting of tragedy. My husband has been very affected by this, as he lived in France for two years and has many friends that live right in Paris. He’s been keeping up with everything, I’ve been sort of hiding from it… but your post made me realize that I should probably face it a bit more, and not live in fear and allow terrorists to win. When I think about it, facing it is how I could best protect my daughter and my family. Well done with this one.

  7. You did a Great job saying what I think most people would agree with. It is hard to just keep moving along. It is hard not to let all of this pain bring your life to a screeching halt. It takes faith and courage to move forward. Pay your respects, pray for the families, and then enjoy every minute of yours. Life can be so short and you Never know what lies ahead.

  8. The world is such a scary place these days! It was so sad to see the Paris attacks, but trying to put a positive spin on on this, which is what I do to everything….. I’m hoping that since most people are so clueless in the western world about what terror goes on everywhere else daily, that maybe these attacks in Paris, since we do relate to Paris, will open more eyes. Love and peace really are the answers. Pray for the world :):)

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