Courage In Times Of Terror

     Its a stormy night. The wind is loud and the stories from Paris and the Middle East are pouring onto social media and news stations. Every new development makes my heart sink deeper and deeper.  And while most of that feeling is for those that we have lost recently, I have to admit, the feeling is also a little selfish. I'm sad and scared for what is to come. I can't help but feel a war coming on, one that I know so many of you feel as well. This oncoming storm seems global, and I feel afraid even though I am probably one of the safest people in the world. I keep imagining my grandmother as a little girl hearing about World War II happening, and I wonder if she felt scared like this too.
     I spent some time earlier tonight looking at a photographer's photos of Syrian refugee children. He also told their stories and quoted them. It was while reading that that I became especially afraid. Those beautiful children were once sitting in their warm bed at home, just like I am. They were once smelling food from the kitchen and only seeing violence through a screen. Now, they only have a pillow if they are lucky. The grass is their bed and their parent's broken belongings have become their toys. They are living in constant fear, in a real-life nightmare. And I can't help but think: That could be me.
     All it takes is one attack and I could be searching desperately for a home, for food, or just for someone who didn't want to hurt me. Just one hour could stand between me writing this, and me not knowing if my family and friends are alive. This fear is eating at me tonight. Terrorist attacks don't just cause fear where they are executed. The terror spreads.
I don't know huge amounts about politics, so I can't necessarily back up one decision or another that officials are making right now. However, what I can do is remind you not to distance yourself from any of this. Just because it isn't in your state, country, or even on your continent doesn't mean it can't happen to you. Hold on to the ones you love. Don't take a single item you own for granted, especially  your bed.
      I know that right now a lot of people are saying not to be afraid, don't let the terrorists get to you. But I'm telling you that you are allowed to be scared. In fact, I encourage you to take today to really open your eyes to what is going on and let that fear in for the day. Refusing fear can build up walls that create callousness and indifference, and this is a time that we can't afford to have those things. Empathy is the most human feeling, and it needs to be felt. I feel those children's fear and weariness, though I can never know it to its full extent. I feel the fear and loss of those in Paris and Lebanon and Baghdad and anywhere else that is the center of this brewing storm. Please feel that fear too. Feel it, then let it go. Courage only happens when one overcomes fear.


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