Paralyzed Between Pleasure and Pain

Dear Diary,

I’m so sorry I have neglected to update you on my most recent adventures off the beaten path, but ever since the Paris tragedies I have been paralyzed between sharing the pleasures of my small little world, and the horrors of the larger one.

I was actually at the Inland Regional Center a few years ago at a Christmas party for San Bernardino’s foster children to hand out the gifts that my company had amassed through a drive that I chaired. The mass shooting at the IRC was both physically and emotionally very close to home.

The horrors of terrorism are not individualized in me, and I suspect not in any normal human heart. They accumulate one on top of the other, like a pyramid of pain.

For me they started with 9/11, when I actually watched on live TV the second tower attacked. An event so horrific that every American remembers where they were and what they were doing when it occurred.

An event so terrifying that every normal human put themselves in the shoes of those that chose to jump the 110 stories than perish by fire. In fact…most Americans cannot speak of it still because it brings it all back anew. So we don’t, because that is what the terrorists want.

But we remember, oh do we remember.

When Paris was attacked, every American wept on the inside (some of us on the outside) to live again through the agony of watching terror unfold before us on live TV. We put ourselves in the shoes of those innocents and their families.

I watched until I couldn’t take it anymore because I felt I owed it to Parisians and to France, to live through it over and over with them as an act of solidarity. As an empathetic American who had lived through the shock, fright, panic, and tragedy before. And the helplessness.

Why? Why? Why? Is always the question. We continue to ask ourselves this question over and over, and it goes unanswered.  Because nobody can make sense out of the insane.

I am not so naïve as to think that the US is capable of despicable acts abroad, like arming certain factions to satisfy their own agenda.

But we the people are not our government. We are the same people of any nation under any government that just want to raise our family, pursue happiness, and enjoy this gift of life while we are here in a relative state of peace (I say relative cause some of our relatives are just plain crazy ha!).

So when innocent people are killed to satisfy someone else’s agenda we get angry. A deep down roiling kind of anger that threatens to spill out through fear, paranoia, or just plain anarchy. I want to be angry at somebody. I want to blame someone. I want somebody guilty to pay.

But here’s the truth of it.

When I get angry, and I get fearful, or vengeful, and depressed at what is unfolding in the world, and I want to lash out at someone…I make my world very small and stand back for a minute.

Then I see what I should always see. Random acts of kindness everywhere. Just regular people being kind to other living things (humans and animals). And some of those acts were mine.

And then I remember…it is still America the Beautiful.

And Paris is still the city of light and love.

And San Bernardino is still a place where broken children are loved and healed.

And no terrorist can take that from us.

Thank you dearest for letting me get this off my chest, because I can’t wait to tell you about going WAY off the beaten path and what treasures we found.

Until next time…



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