There’s too much swirling around to write clearly today. Joel’s in Sydney at a course. He left yesterday evening and we were both feeling anxious before he left without being able to pinpoint why. This morning, about three hours ago, I see the news that there is currently a siege at a cafe 3km from where he is, large parts of the city in lock-down, and all defense forces on standby. Hostages inside the cafe were forced to close their eyes and hold up a banner from the window which read, “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of God” and I feel a rush of rage as I wonder when this madness will end.
Because, today, those frightened people within Lindt cafe’ hanging desperately onto the hope they won’t die are not strangers. They are you and me, on their way to work, sipping coffee with their loved ones, remembering that they have to drop their library books back. They have mothers and fathers and children and brothers and neighbours and sisters who love them, who are wide-eyed staring at their television screens in nauseating panic, disbelieving that this is actually for one horrific second happening to them.
It makes me hysterical with anger. It makes me hysterical for the safety of the man I love. It makes me hysterical for the families of the hostages. It makes me hysterical for humanity and for my relentless need to believe that there is more good than evil in this world we all share.
Because for the love of god, when will we start believing that we each belong to each other?
I’ve been here before — this infuriated place — each and every time I hear of another school shooting in America, each and every time I hear a child has been raped, or an extremist Islamic group has murdered masses of terrified people, and so I know how it goes.
I know I start out mad. Hysterical. Completely disheartened. I know I then realize these feelings serve very little use. I know I then start to look for the helpers – the ones running TO the suffering. The ones who prove to me that it’s not all lost, that love will fight back again and again, that evil is both a minority, and a force which will never be overcome by more evil.
I look for the helpers. I look for the running-toers. The sharers. The offerers. The huggers. The peacemakers. And I vow to BE THOSE PEOPLE.
The neighbours who offer their electricity for people to charge their mobile phones.
The strangers who buy strangers a warm meal.
The men who sort through rubble.
The women who offer embraces.
The communities who pray.
Because we can’t just talk about the change we want to see, we must be that change, that hug, that help.
When things become loud, we must become quiet. When things turn dark, we must stay light. When things turn chaotic, we must be still.
We belong to each other. This is a global truth.
And while I wait for my partner to return safely to me, I’m lighting a candle, switching off the news, and reading this.
Because there is good, always, when you search for it.
Sydney, we are with you.