The day I woke up on September 11, 2001, I had everything in the world to look forward to.
It was my 31st birthday and I was two months shy of my wedding day. I never dreamed when I woke up that morning that I’d spend all day on the phone trying to reach my brother who worked in the city and a number of other close friends to see if they were even still alive.
We never know when we wake up each day what the day will bring. One moment we’re worried about something trivial like an insensitive comment a friend made to us the day before, or some work drama that kept us up all night. The next moment, we’re worried whether the people we love most are still breathing.
The Paris attacks on Friday, November 13th were a brutal reminder that each day is precious and we can’t take anything for granted.
Although we may not live in the City of Lights, the impact of what just happened there is a stark reminder that we are no longer safe in our own countries. Something as simple and carefree as sitting at a cafe sipping coffee can turn into a bloody massacre.
The only thing that warms the heart of so many of us at times like these is watching the entire world comes together and take a stand for all of humanity.
We put aside the insignificant and petty worries of our own lives to focus solely on the people and families affected by the brutal attacks. We recognize that so many other human beings in the world are constantly subjected to insufferable and senseless violence in their own countries.
With war and violence flaring all over the world, many of us are left feeling vulnerable and utterly helpless.
This is a time for us to not just unite and pray for peace, unity and justice, but to go inward and reflect on how fortunate we are to be safe at this very moment, wherever we are. We are fortunate to have so many of the basic human comforts many others don’t have—food, shelter and a safe place to call home.
Pema Chödrön wrote, “War and peace begin in the hearts of individuals. It’s never too late, to look within and discover a new way of living and transform not only our personal lives but our whole world.”
Today, myself and millions of others send Paris our strength to carry on, many prayers and the hope that all of us can find a way to transform this latest tragedy into a new beginning for more love and peace in the world.
May it be a reminder to all of us how precious life is.
Author: Dina Strada
Assistant Editor: Hilda Carroll / Editor: Caitlin Oriel
Photo: Robert Huffstutter/Flickr