When tragic things happen in the world, our emotions can all become pretty tangled. We're horrified for the people who lost their lives in such a violent and unwarranted fashion, we're saddened for everyone affected by their loss. We're scared for ourselves and our own loved ones, and the harsh reminder that life (and death) is wildly unpredictable. We're confused at how humans beings can become so warped in their understanding of the world. We're angry that there are people who wish innocent lives harm. We're forced to remember our own fragility and mortality.
All of these emotions and people's understanding of them seem to cause conflict themselves. People on twitter get cross at how other people react, they feel as if there is a correct response, and people need to be corrected or educated to respond in the same was as they do. Fear, shock, sadness and anger are all unpredictable emotions, and I think people would be kinder if they reminded themselves of this.
Ten years ago I was in Hurricane Katrina, a storm that destroyed a city which hasn't yet recovered. I was trapped in The Superdome, a now rather infamous stadium, which housed about 20,000 of us, largely, the poor, the vulnerable and homeless. It was a terrifying scary place to be held, with fear, sadness and violence never too far away. On the street outside were hijackers, looters and tragic scenes of loss. I witnessed how the emotions of fear, sadness and anger can affect people differently. We may be reacting differently but the feelings are generally the same.
The glimmers of hope that shine though during a tragedy are where our minds can safely go. We see how during crisis many people rise to greatness. Whether they're standing in line to donate blood in Paris, or preparing boxes of care to be sent to refugees in Calais. We are reminded to appreciate our loved ones, to reflect on our own good fortunes, and to seek to spread joy and kindness.
This post was written in response to the Terrorist attacks in Paris.