Prayers for Paris
The Beacon Bolt is a publication of the student body of Northwest Christian University.
Thanksgiving has come and gone, we feasted on plates and plates of stuffing, mashed potatoes, turkey, rolls and pumpkin pie, but did you take some time to think of what you are thankful for? I am not asking you the stereotypical response, in-fact I want to ask a question with a completely different context than you might have ever encountered. A question that we can all unconsciously answer at any moment of any day without hesitation. Instead I’ll ask, what are you stressed about?
All of us can relate to the rushing, poking and prodding nature we feel as the end of a semester draws near. I can list off a multitude of things that a majority of us can agree upon including ACE Day presentations, finals, papers, sleep deprivation and sickness, all of which plague our university towards the thirteenth week.
On November 14th a terrorist attack was made inside the Paris Bataclan Concert Hall. Most of America, by now has watched news story after news story covering the horrific terror that took place in France. The most heart-breaking, yet touching account I have read was a viral Facebook post from a 22-year-old woman who played dead when terrorists opened fire. Only hours after escaping the venue where more than 80 people were killed, Isobel Bowdery, from South Africa, wrote the post, alongside with a picture of her blood-stained white shirt. She said that the concert had a happy atmosphere, everyone dancing and smiling, so when they first heard gunfire they though it was a part of the Eagles of Death Metal concert. Isobel said:
“You never think it will happen to you…it wasn’t just a terrorist attack, it was a massacre. Dozens of people were shot right in front of me. Pools of blood filled the floor. Cries of grown men who held their girlfriends dead bodies pierced the small music venue. Futures demolished, families heartbroken, in an instant. Shocked and alone, I pretended to be dead for over an hour, lying among people who could see their loved ones motionless… Holding my breath, trying to not move, not cry – not giving those men the fear they longed to see…As I lay down in the blood of strangers and waiting for my bullet to end my mere 22 years, I envisioned every face that I have ever loved and whispered I love you. Over and over again. Reflecting on the highlights of my life. Wishing that those I love knew just how much, wishing that they knew that no matter what happened to me, to keep believing in the good in people. To not let those men win…Last night, the lives of many were forever changed and it is up to us to be better people. To live lives that the innocent victims of this tragedy dreamt about but sadly will now never be able to fulfil. RIP angels. You will never be forgotten.”
Bowery’s reflection of the tragedy that she experienced that night in Paris was both completely emotionally devastating and eye-opening. Why have I not made a change? A change that I discussed a few, mere weeks ago when we faced a horrifying tragedy here in the state of Oregon, at UCC. I spoke of being thankful for the life that you have, to be able to get up every day to a fresh start. Were you even surprised when you heard the news of Paris? When you saw the pictures of victims covered in their own and other’s blood?
Another story became very popular the weekend after the Paris attack, a story about an attack on Garissa University in Kenya where 147 people were killed. The only problem with this surge in media coverage, was that the Kenyan shooting happened in April of 2015. When a new mass shooting takes place, other past mass shootings become especially popular articles via social media and new sources. How many reminders of the past do we need? How many of these horrific events must we see plastered across every television, radio and website to fully understand? We should have understood long ago and possibly these events wouldn’t be happening.
My pities, my complaints, they feel so worthless compared the pain and sorrow that these families and fellow citizens must feel. My heart longs to embrace the parents of these victims, to share kind and encouraging words. So during the final weeks of the semester, including Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year, I challenge you to be more aware of your complaints. Complaining about finals and papers won’t make them any easier or shorter, it only slows you down and takes not only your mind, but also your heart off of the things that matter.
The worries and stresses that you carry reveal what is most important in your life at that moment. Is your ten page paper going to really matter ten years from? How about even ten months? Ten days? Typically no, it won’t, but what will last the test of time are people. People matter, whether they are French, American…even Syrian refugees, we can’t forget that people matter. I’m not a political person, if you haven’t noticed already from my variety of DIY and food review articles, but I know that lives matter. Don’t get so sucked into the politics of world events that you forget that the people suffering on both sides, are the living children of God. Maybe if everyone thought this way, these attacks on precious human life would stop happening. Prayers for Paris.
Kenya Coverage: http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-34833134