The other day my five-year-old niece Ava told us that if she had one wish to make, it’d be for world peace. A five year old said that. Completely out of nowhere, un-coached and totally unexpected. We were all just sitting around the dining room table engrossed in some unconnected conversation and that just popped out of her mouth. It being Ava—the little queen of saying THE utmost random things at THE most random times—we just laughed it off and continued the conversation. When she said it again, I think I asked her why that was and she just gave me that knowing little smirk of hers, shrugged, and said, “’Cuz it’s a good wish, that’s why,” and went back to playing with her dolls.
Standing in my grams’ living room tonight, seeing the horror unfolding in Paris on the television screen, all I could think about was how desperately I wished it were only as simple as that—as wishing for something and it being so. I envy that innocence and that hope I saw in Ava’s eyes when she told us her wish, I really and truly do. I envy her because she doesn’t yet know the horror and evil that exists in the world…or that there are real, living breathing monsters out there who have no conscience and who have zero disregard for the value of human life. But what breaks my heart is that she will find out some day. And what scares me the most about when that day does come is that if the world is as horrifyingly screwed up as it is now—and that’s putting it nicely—then godonlyknows the kind of HELL it’s going to be in ten or fifteen years from now when she’s all grown up and about to make that first solo plunge into that very Hell/world herself. THAT scares the hell out of me.
Innocence aside, I wish I had her optimism. I wish I could believe that humanity will prevail. That good will triumph over evil. I wish I could believe that the fighting and the violence and the bloodshed will end. That we’ll come together—the human race—and unite as one—forgetting about status and power, and race, gender, sexuality, religion, and politics—all of it…and just connect as human beings. But I don’t. I don’t believe that’ll happen. Not in my lifetime. Not in hers, and sadly, probably not in her kids’ lifetimes either. It’s just not likely. After all, the human race has been engaging in conflict since the beginning of time, so much so that it might as well be embedded into our DNA. It’s as though we thrive on it…as if we can’t survive without it. And that’s something I don’t think I will ever understand.
Don’t get me wrong, a little conflict isn’t always entirely destructive. It can be constructive, with precise and careful application, of course. But this kind of conflict—this isn’t constructive at all. This is just destructive. This is murder. Terrorism. Pure evil. Killing, taking hostage, and wounding hundreds of unsuspecting, INNOCENT people at a concert and in restaurants for what I’m almost certain will turn out to be some messed up kind of political and/or religious statement is deplorable and a blight on humanity. It’s both sickening and heartbreaking to watch and see video and images of all those terrified people and see the number of the dead continue to rise. I may not know any of the victims or anyone over there, but my heart still breaks for them and for the city of Paris right now because in times like this, it doesn’t matter what country you’re from or where you are…we’re all human. We all feel the loss. We all mourn the innocent. We all fear what lies ahead…
Paris, Je T’aime.