The shock carried through the evening hours. I am certain many of us around the world did not sleep in ease. Here, we didn’t feel especially motivated to do much as we watched the events unfold, streaming in from the screens of all sizes. Stillness in solidarity. God be with Paris. God be with us all.
An ocean between us, but we paused to pray for peace, for protection, for the madness in this world to just stop and let us catch our breath. We prayed that hope would begin to ease the fear and wash away the bloodshed. We whispered the words of St. Francis, where there is darkness, let there be light.
And whatever connection we each feel to this city of lights, whether the darkness that was thrust upon our brothers and sisters or something special, or a deep love of the culture, the language, the food, the history.
Là où il y a la tristesse, que je mette la joie. (Where there is sadness, let there be joy.)
The reality we face in the days ahead feel dazzling and frightening. A quaking world surely groans in turmoil. We do not lose our hope in the one who has written the end of the story, yet we feel the shaking of the earth below our feet. Evil often seems to be unstoppable and we feel unprepared and uncertain.
I just finished reading a novel, about two brave sisters in WWII France. I am always captivated by this era, whether on paper or screen. Always in the beginning, we witness the cautiously optimistic conversations of neighbors gathering outside the market, moments in time when the world is on the brink of change, when the lives they lead would forever be marked by the events looming ominously in sight. We see how they dressed daily in hope and faced every uncertainty.
These courageous souls did not know their stories would be pillars in time, they just lived, because giving up was a poor alternative, and survival is the birthmark of the natural world. The fight for goodness and truth marches through eternity and we are all players.
I don’t know what lies ahead or where we are in the grand unfolding in the life and times of man. None of us really gets to be certain, but the miles shrink away in our streaming world. It’s all too real.
This morning, I whisked cornstarch with egg yolks, melted chocolate and warmed cream for a chocolate pie. Standing in the kitchen, my mind was thousands of mile away and I began to wonder, if these are our moments in history to face with courage and hope. We hold our babies and kiss their heads while the future rumbles with discord and trouble. We wonder what kind of world they will know, what tomorrow will bring.
In this moment, I felt a kinship to the sisters of the days we have not forgotten. In their perfectly coiffed hair and cotton dresses, with market baskets and little ones trailing near. The ones who worked endlessly, prayed fervently, and faced every trial while fighting against the fear at bay. Our sisters who bore grief, devastation, and loss and celebrated triumph, beauty, and courage. The styles and relics of each period only distinguish a mark in time, but we are not so different.
If these are our historic days, let us dress daily in courage, stand fervently in hope, and unceasing in prayer.