Lebanon and Syria and Iraq and Japan and Paris and the U.S.A. and Kenya and Turkey and Nigeria and Humanity
the World…War and terror attacks and tsunamis and massacres and children abused by cops.
One glance at any news or social media outlet is enough to make me want to turn them all off, close my eyes, cover my ears. There is violence and suffering in the world, in my own back yard, and there is no easy or clear understanding. The attempt to process one devastating bit of news is sabotaged by another devastating bit of news.
I watch my travel networks fill with messages from people who are surrounded by terror when all they wanted was a nice vacation or a night out on the town. International borders are shut down as friends and loved ones are searched for. One tragedy gets more news than another…it’s seen as more important or acceptable or profitable…and the anger and fear and hate mongering build. As information spreads, some vow never to travel internationally again as others wonder if these tragedies will hit the U.S.
…as if they haven’t already. As if we’re immune. As if these kinds of things are supposed to happen in certain places and not in others. As if terror belongs to one country, one group of people, one part of the world, or one religion. As if…
There’s so much heaviness in it all and I take a step back and look at the story I’d like to share about Peru or France or Southern California and wonder…what’s the point? Is it even worth it?
Innocent people are losing their lives. Does anyone even care about another travel blogger’s fantastic trip to ___ (fill in the blank)?
What is the proper response to a person who’s now terrified to get on a plane and take that trip that they saved and planned for?
How do you respond to massacres and hatred and abuse?
I sit and think and re-evaluate what my goals are. I re-examine the passions and purposes that were gifted to me. I take a look at motives and memories. And I’m reminded of the things I was taught as a child, the things I still hold onto to this day. I’m reminded that when I don’t know what to do or what to say, I can always pray. I’m reminded of the peace that comes, not from knowing the answers but from knowing how to unburden myself from what weighs me down.
I’m reminded that there is still beauty in the world. In the midst of darkness and terror, there is still a world that pulsates with the beautiful essence of a loving Creator who also grieves but is not surprised. And I’m reminded that my desire and my passion is to show and share and remind others of that beauty.
It still exists.
And so I will (hashtag) pray for Paris, yes. But I will also pray for Syria and Iraq and Japan and the U.S.A. and Kenya and Turkey and Nigeria. I will pray for every victim and refugee and orphan.
I will pray for the hearts and minds of the perpetrators of heinous crimes against humanity.
I will pray for the Earth because we are indefinitely tethered to one another and you cannot lift one in prayer without lifting another. Pain and suffering and fear and anger are not exclusive to one. When one suffers all of humanity is brought to its knees.
And I will continue to remind anyone who needs reminding that there is still beauty in the world. Because I truly believe that prayer changes hearts…
…and beauty does as well.