With the horrific event in Paris yesterday, it occurred to me that now, more than ever, we must not take peace for granted. Hearing the daily news, I am deeply saddened and scared for all mankind. The stories of wars, tragedy, loss and suffering seem endless and I think of the frailty of it all and how everything can change in an instant. You, like me, may be wondering why these horrific things keep happening in our world.
It never ceases to amaze me that there is such an intensity of human hatred, anger, and selfishness. It’s enough to make us afraid of the world we inhabit, but for one thing: faith, in the power of love, peace, and gratitude for all life on Earth.
During a recent counseling session with a new client, I was explaining my positive attitude toward couples counseling and life in general. We got to talking about how important it is not to take things for granted and how fleeting life and time can be.
I thought of my twelve-year-old granddaughter and how I’ve watched her grow and learn to skate since she was seven. The years seem to have flown by and she’s so grown up now. She casually puts on her own skates now, and talks about complex issues while navigating my smart phone for me. Similarly, my nine-year-old grandson plays soccer and watching him makes me aware of how much he has grown as well. I marvel at all of this and the continuity of the generations.
With my new clients, I mentioned that in general most people do not get up each morning marveling at the fact that they can walk, talk, see, have a home, food, transportation and are able to go to work, and provide for their family. Furthermore, we give scant thought to the service men and women who face hazard daily to keep us safe. How many of us actually get up and give thanks for another day on this planet?
The people attacked in the Paris concert hall, soccer game and restaurants, had just gone out for an evening of entertainment, taking for granted they had another day. Many will not see the light of another day. Others are in hospitals, fighting for their lives. Some are wounded, perhaps damaged forever. Life is not supposed to be this way, but it seems the new reality is.
We have little control over the daily circumstances of our life, but we can control of our thoughts and our reaction to them. Each day is a new opportunity to be grateful for our lives and families and all the blessings we enjoy. We can learn to more fully appreciate our time on this planet.
To exist unmindfully, and go through life careless of its wonder would be a shame.
Let the Paris tragedy be a statement of our fragile existence. Make it a positive reminder to be grateful for family and friends, and to make defending our country a priority for our children and grandchildren.