Monday, 16 November 2015

November 13

We rush to the television to get the latest news, then shut everything off with the same urgency, eager to focus on something else, anything else.  I lived on one of those streets for 2 years, took my visiting parents to a restaurant next to the one that was attacked.  This past Christmas, we stayed in a friend’s apartment and parked our car in front of the pizzeria that was attacked.  Still, this it-could-have-been-me awareness fails to penetrate the numbness and confusion. 

What finally makes me cry is not the event itself but the beauty of the response. As the shots were heard, residents in the areas under attack opened their doors to those fleeing, their blood-stained couches and carpets bearing witness to the violence of the reception.  Taxi drivers threw open the doors of their cabs, taking as many as they could carry out of harm's way.  The next morning, the hospitals requested Parisians to please stop giving blood. The banks were full after donors had lined up around the clock, some waiting as long as 3 hours, heedless of police warnings to stay home for their own safety. The major trauma hospitals turned away doctors and nurses who had shown up to offer help. In every window all over the country, small candles stood silent watch throughout the night.

All American children of the 70s remember Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, a children’s television program that taught peace, compassion, and tolerance. When faced with traumatic events, he reminded us to look for the helpers.  No matter how terrible the scene, you will always see people rushing out to help, and the helpers always outnumber the bad guys. Staying focused on the helpers keeps hope alive when it feels like your world is falling apart.


Yia Yia Thompson said...

More powerful than the shots that did the damage. Thanks for your take on the horrors of what happened in one of the most beautiful cities on the planet.

Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor said...

Lovely post. We could all use a little more Mr Rodgers in our lives. said...

Lovely. And true.