In the midst of winter, I found within myself an invincible summer
Camus was a Frenchman, so his quote is even more appropriate today. Because we need more than ever to find a wellspring of hope, love and joy deep within ourselves in the face of the Paris and Beirut bombings.
I don't mean we need to cheer ourselves up or hide from the evil of that carnage. But that our only hope as a species is to hold to goodness – and we have to start with ourselves. If we all live in fear and hate, the terrorists have taken even more from us than lives.
“Turn the other cheek” was always quoted to me growing up and I thought that meant offering oneself up to a bully for a repeat performance. But it means not allowing one's soul to be curdled by retaliation. If we are to come through last Friday, we need to cleave to our fundamental generosity. We need to reaffirm goodness.
As I read on Facebook yesterday, Fred Rogers said, “When I was a boy and I saw scary things on the news, my mother would say to me 'Look at the helpers. You will always find people who are helping'.”
It is through the accounts of those who gave when they had nothing, loved in the face of despair that the atrocities like Holocaust can give birth to seeds of greatness like wild flowers on a bomb site.
It is not the rich, the great or the experts who are needed now, it is the common goodness of everyday people who will not be degraded by terror, but will reach out – the helpers. We will not be overcome.