I returned home last night from a meeting with a friend that was full of laughter and good feelings. We had got caught in heavy rains and I was glad to be under my own roof, safe, dry and warm which I didn't really pay much attention to at that moment. As you don't when you go through your day, taking care of all the little things and taking a lot for granted.
As I usually do I checked into Facebook and noticed a post saying "Why must it be Paris again? So horrible." At first I didn't know what to make of it but then I saw similar posts and finally realized what had happened. I kept the next hours glued to my TV screen, feeling much like I felt 14 years ago watching the news from New York City. Only this time I was all by myself.
I don't want to describe for the umpteenth time what I assume we all feel - and by this I mean all human beings who basically follow the principle of "live and let live" whatever their faith, sex, nationality etc. - when yet another of those horrid attacks has happened.
I admit that my first reaction was rage, alongside the sadness and desperation, and this was certainly born out of a primitive feeling of wanting to take revenge for the victims.
Today, however, when I thought about what had occured, my reaction had changed. The rage is still there but it is more directed against the people (politicians mostly) who want to profit from the terror.
What I noticed going about my day was this:
Usually on Saturdays, the city is a very hectic place, people rushing here and there and buying stuff as if there is no tomorrow, and not being very patient or considerate with it. Today everything seemed more calm and slow, and not as aggressive.
And these are the feelings I found in myself: I was experiencing a strange placidness and looked at all my fellow men and women with a sort of determined kindness and patience - which never used to be a typical character trait of mine. I strongly felt that I wanted to try everything to keep an open mind and heart, and to practise kindness much more than anything else. I don't really know where this is coming from but I am still feeling that way.
I am not of Christian or any other religious faith and I don't believe in turning the other cheek, certainly not in these cases. But at this moment I seem to believe in kindness more than I used to do and much more than I even was aware of. It is rather strange to surprise yourself in this way, I can tell you!
I do believe that terrorists are extremely afraid of love and life, and of their own feelings other than their false superiority and obsession with death. But I rather pity them and only hate the actions they perform.
I do believe that love is the only way. And I don't care if that sounds corny.