On Tragedy and Helping


Sometimes it’s funny how life works – scratch that, funny is a very wrong word to use in this situation. Flash back to four months ago – I woke up in my hotel room alone after a night out on the town in Cannes, France. I had several texts on my phone from my friend on the trip with me. They were in another hotel room watching CNN – there had been a shooting in a movie theater in my hometown. There were two dead. This was heart wrenching – I was a world away (literally) and couldn’t do anything about it. It was also about 2am at home, meaning no one was awake to reply to my worried texts.

Now, let’s fast-forward to last Friday. I was in a movie theater with my friend seeing the new James Bond movie. We were waiting for the movie to start, both obsessively looking at our phones – I was scrolling through Twitter taking in everything I could about the attacks in Paris. People were being murdered as we were shoving popcorn into our mouths. The movie started and I felt incredibly uneasy sitting there enjoying it.

When we turned our phones off before the movie, 68 people had been pronounced dead in the attacks, and when we got out – 142. The numbers rose higher and higher, and this was becoming more terrifying and more real. It was quite ironic – I found out about a theater shooting while in France and an act of terror in France while in a movie theater.

This is one of those times that I put my head in my hands and think. What can I do? How can I help? I kept seeing that quote from Mr. Rogers: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” I want to be one of those helpers. And if we had more of those helpers to outweigh those few bad guys, this world could be a better place.

I think it’s important that we remember how much good is in the world. It’s so easy to forget the good when something bad like this happens. In my favorite episode of Doctor Who, The Doctor tells Amy Pond, “The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don’t always necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant.” I want to make sure to remember those good things. I want to be the good things to people in my life.

If you wish to give a monetary donation to a refugee relief fund, please donate here. If you wish to donate to directly to Paris to the French Red Cross, you can do so here.  If you would like to donate to the International Committee of the Red Cross, which is working in Syria and other areas in crisis, you can learn more and donate here.

I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love. – Mother Teresa



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