Terror. The world itself makes me feel that emotion.. terror. Terror is what you must feel when the boat you’ve loaded your entire family onto to escape your burning city, begins to sink in the dark. It’s what you must feel when your about to enjoy a concert on a Friday night and someone begins shooting at you. Its what you must feel when the plane your on with your family, starts to go down. Stomach churning, breath stealing, heart stopping terror. It’s an awful word.
As we were sitting together earlier, drinking coffee, Sky news on in the background, Theo looked up from playing with his cars and glanced at the TV. His brow furrowed “what happened there mummy?” he asked. I looked at the TV and saw fleeting images of red flashing lights, bodies covered with blankets, emotionally distraught people… I froze – what do I tell him?
Looking at his innocent little face, racing cars in hand, trying to understand what was going on was heartbreaking. I spend most of my life showing him how wonderful the world is – chasing rainbows and counting stars, jumping in puddles and kicking up leaves, throwing stones in rivers and writing our names in sand. Almost everyone that he meets is good to him, kind, warm and friendly.. so how do I explain to him that the world can be an awful place? That people kill other people, hurt them, abuse them, displace them? That people purposely go out and destroy other people’s lives and hearts and souls? How do I tell him and how do I ever let him go?
I’m sure every parent has had that moment, thinking about how tiny and innocent your child is in such a big, scary world. Your instinct is to hold them tight and keep them safe forever, but that is impossible. My only hope for him is that he can grow up to be happy and make the world a better place. I need him to go on believing that the world can be wonderful, so that he can tell others. I need him to know and feel so much love, so he can go out there and share it. I need him to go through his life and know to act out of love, and not out of hate.
After a quick explanation and a change of TV channel, he forgot all about it. We took a little trip to the City Hall to see it lit up for the people of Paris. I always used to live my life wondering why.. why things happened or didn’t happen, I used to lie awake at night, searching for the meaning behind things that happened. This year however, I’ve stopped asking. Sometimes there is no reason why we find ourselves in the situations that we do. I now spend my life in the here and now, appreciating every moment and finding joy wherever I can. This world IS a scary place – tonight I’m grateful for where I am, at home, safe with my family and I’m praying for those who aren’t so lucky.