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The Lessons They Left

On Friday, November 13th, at least eight individuals let hate infiltrate their minds and passed it into our world through more senseless actions of violence, terror and death.  By now you've probably heard the details of the Paris, France attacks and felt the collective sorrow. There are many who are examining all the clues and details of these types of coordinated efforts in hopes of future prevention. I’ll leave that to those experts with my gratitude for their work.

As for me, I’d like to examine what we can learn from the victims. Occasionally, you hear stories of people sensing that “today” is their last one.  We know it only because they shared it with someone else before it came true.  I have no doubt believing it and I don’t need to know how or why they knew.  I’m fine with the mystery.  But I’m guessing the majority of these victims had no idea that they were living their last day in a human body. Human life is like a conveyor belt that never shuts off.  Each day, some arrive and some leave.  It has always been that way, and it will continue to be that way until the human world comes to an end.  No one comes here with the guarantee of another day.  We can’t be completely sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing because of the mystery surrounding what happens when we leave.  I have my beliefs but right now, I want to learn from those who really “lived” while they were here.

What strikes me about this particular tragedy is what the victims were doing just before their last breath. Some were fulfilling the plans they had made to meet friends for some conversation, laughter, food and libations in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  Many more were dancing and singing to the live music they enjoyed.  We can honor these victims by sharing the legacy they left to us all. They were “living” when they died.  This human journey is meant to be enjoyed and shared with others. This is the light in the darkness that deserves our attention. People were together. It is true that you arrive alone and you leave alone but the time in between is not a one person show.  You will find the vibrant beauty of life when you are touched by connection, laughter and love. Hate has no space in that picture.
If you are dead while still alive, the color is gone while loneliness and hurt look for a home.  Eventually, those emotions move towards hate. Whenever I look at the pictures of those who have inflicted sorrow and grief into the world, I see hate in their eyes.  Why?  They weren't born that way.  At some point, they allowed hate to find a home in their heart and eventually it spread to their mind.

Don’t let that happen to you or anyone you know. Keep fear at bay so life can unfold.  Live as if you are dying, so you won’t die without having lived. That is what I will choose to remember about the victims of this tragedy.

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