Last year on this day my world got shaken up. Belgium, the country I live in, and love, got attacked by terrorists, resulting in the death of 35 people and injuring 340 others. The last of the wounded was released from the hospital in February of this year, almost 11 months after the attack. The press reported the possibility of these victims having to possibly return to the hospital for further treatments and possible prosthetics. The impact was far reaching.
Today, one year after this horrific event, London, the city where so many of my family and loved ones live in, was also attacked. The reports so far have numbered the deaths at 4 and the injured in the twenties.
I remember last year as being the day that brought terrorism to my back door. One of the terrorists literally past by one of my businesses on his escape route. I felt all kinds of emotions: anger, hurt, fear, worry, frustration, empathy,… I remember watching the images over and over until I couldn’t handle it anymore, and making sure none of my nearest and dearest was caught in the chaos that abounded.
Today so many commemorations were held to remember the people that suffered that day, be it through their own death, the death of a loved one, or the injuries they incurred. Having heard a few highlights of these inspiring words today, the main message was that love and our own responsibility to work at making our society a more just and humane place are the keys to overcoming such monstrosities.
I have often thought about the terrible things that happen in the world. I often hear people talk about them, complain about them, condemn a supreme being to let such things happen. And I understand the frustration. I can also understand how such events that seem to plague our world almost daily, cause us to fear the unknown, and harbor ill towards others unjustly.
On Saturday I went to the celebration of the 175 years of the Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ. It was an amazing conference where we celebrated the largest women’s organization in this world. Amongst many special talks we heard all focused on loving others as Jesus Christ does, one experience shared by John Bytheway really struck me profoundly. He told the story of his friend Barbara who had lost her leg at the tragic age of 14, and was able to move past the hurt, and go on in life, and forgive the lady who knocked her down and subsequently caused her to lose her leg. Such forgiveness and love is so powerful, it is fitting on a day like today.
As I was sitting in church on Sunday (it was a weekend of deep thought and reflection for me 🙂 ), a teacher in our Sunday School asked us the following question to consider: “ How can I change the world I live in?” And as I sat there in class, I seriously thought about this question once again. After a few minutes passed, and several people got into the discussion to answer the question, I remember sitting there being deep in thought how I could possibly change the world.
I was reminded of the wise words of Mother Teresa. She thought those around here that alone we cannot change the world, but we can cast in a stone across the waters to create many ripples.
And I truly felt once again that the only way we can change the world we live in, is by changing our self. I thought to myself: “If I change my sometimes selfish ways, my lack of patience, my quickness to judge another, and my other many lacking qualities?”, the world around me would be such a brighter, more uplifting place to live in.
I was reminded again this week how short life can be. A friend of mine said goodbye to a dear friend that died at a young age. She was in tears, and as I hugged and comforted her, I realized our time is so precious. Yet we spend so much of time wasting it on things that are of such little consequence. We worry about our appearances too much, we get offended so easily, maybe we don’t avoid an argument, but go full speed into one. Life is such a gift, and all around us we see people treating it with such little respect. There seems to be a lack of love for all it represents. Why else would someone willfully hurt and kill another?
Anyways, I know that I can’t change the things happening globally, but I know I can make a difference in the world that I live in. I can choose to be kinder especially when I don’t feel like I want to be kind. I can choose to see the best in others, even when they make it hard. I can forgive as I know I need others to forgive me. I can cast in a stone, and see what happens. And if I can, so can you.
Which stones are we going to cast in? Which change are we going to be in the world around us?