This has been a hard week. I’ve been crying on and off for four days, and I know I’m not the only one. Grieving for people I didn’t know, families I’ll never meet. The Sydney Siege brought my country to a standstill, and we’re all hurting right now.
I feel helpless, so I’m doing the only thing I know to do: write. Let it all out on the page and share it in the hopes that it will help someone who needs it.
Seeing it unfold, the frightened faces of people with their hands against the windows, moving them only to wipe away tears. Watching live as police shut down the centre of Sydney, not knowing what was happening or what we were seeing meant. The families of loved ones inside that cafe, waiting painstakingly as the hours crept by. Seeing those people burst through the doors as they escaped, running for their lives. Waking up the next morning to hear the heartbreaking news of the outcome. Seeing a newsreader break down live on air when she realised she knew one of the people who lost their lives. All I could do was cry and pray, cry and pray.
And then, seeing the field of flowers growing by the minute in Martin Place as a city, a country, came together to grieve, to pay respects, to stand together in solidarity.
The #IllRideWithYou movement, bringing people together and showing the world what it looks like to choose love in the midst of tragedy.
It could have been so easy to choose fear.
To choose hate.
To let this make us bitter, hateful and fearful.
To be torn a part.
I’ve grieved with the world whenever anything like this happens, but seeing it happen so close to home, on a street I’ve walked down, a place we all thought was safe, protected, and seeing it happen live… It shook me to my core. My heart aches for the lives lost, for the grieving families, for the city and indeed the country that is trying to come to terms with the shock.
And then hearing of the horror in Pakistan… I have no words. It’s hard to not feel completely overwhelmed by sadness.
I saw a question asked on Facebook; how do we heal the world?
I can’t get that question out of my mind. I’m not going to pretend I know the answer to it.
The father of Tori Johnson, one of the lives lost in the Sydney siege, said something so beautiful, so powerful yesterday, “Peace and love on earth – can’t get any better than that, any easier than that. Peace and love come for free.”
Maybe that’s the answer.
Give more love than ever before.
We cannot let these events make us bitter. We can’t change the actions of others, but we can refuse to let the actions of others change us.
While our hearts are cracked right now, hurting, shattered even, we’ll come out of this stronger, wiser, and with a greater capacity to show love, compassion and acceptance to others.
And above all, we can remember that there a far more kind, compassionate, good people in this world than we know. If you think that statement is naive, idealistic or untrue, just try to count the flowers in Martin Place.
I’ll say that again…
There a far more kind, compassionate, good people in this world than we know.
Don’t let anything make you forget that. Ever.