No mistake about it, the events of the last few weeks have been heart wrenching. The outpouring of shared grief and solidarity between people and nations has brought us even closer together as a species. Terror does that—it draws us into community rather than distances us from our neighbors. Fear and uncertainty can also divide us as we search for ways in which we can keep ourselves safe while at the same time serve our fellow man (women and children included).
The incident that most struck the heart of my being was when the French people leaving the disrupted friendly soccer game between France and Germany suddenly burst into song. France’s national anthem, The Marseillaise, has long had a history as a revolutionary song, an anthem to freedom, a patriotic call to mobilize all the citizens and an exhortation to fight against tyranny and foreign invasion. Written in 1729, this anthem has survived every war from the French Revolution through both World Wars and beyond. And as of last week, this new incarnation, signifies the resilience and determination of the French people to defy terror—to not become weakened from the attacks, but rather to gain strength of purpose and will.
As I watched the spectators leave the stadium holding hands and singing as expressively as they could, I too joined them while sitting at home viewing their resolve from the comfort of my living room. I share their grief, but I also share their energy and commitment to not let fear take away their sense of joy and safety. I pray for peace, but I also hold hands and sing out for liberte, egalite and fraternite with all those who wish to stop terror dead in its tracks.
No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.