It’s been a sobering week, to say the least.
I don’t have the words to describe how surreal it felt to wake up and learn that my own city had become a hashtag. The sinking feeling that perhaps, some of the people I know and love were hurt, or killed. The overwhelming relief when I found out the bombing hadn’t affected anyone I knew personally, followed immediately by the guilt and pity for those who were affected. And the startling realisation driven home how easily it could have been me- or anyone, really.
I find it interesting that whenever a tragedy happens we turn immediately to a God most of us don’t even believe in.
“My prayers are with you”?
At the risk of sounding cynical, how can anyone pray to a God they would have scorned the day before? I’m sure many people would say it’s just a thoughtful phrase to let someone know your sympathies are with them. But part of me wonders if it’s because all of us, deep down, know exactly how fragile life is, and we still have the ingrained hope that there is a bigger plan to all the suffering that we see- whether or not we believe this at all.
Whenever a tragedy like this strikes- no matter if it’s caused by man or nature- the events are always scary, horrifying, and deeply sorrowful. But no matter how atrocious the situation is, we never fail to see the depth of compassion and love that humanity is capable of.
After the Manchester bombing, it took mere minutes for strangers to offer their homes to those seeking shelter [x], for taxi drivers to turn off their meters in order to give free rides to safety [x], for those working quickly to spread news on social media of places that people could find their missing loved ones [x]. Even homeless citizens who happened to be nearby didn’t hesitate to jump in and help where they could [x], and within days of the incident, millions of pounds had been raised to support the families affected [x].
A little compassion goes a long way, but a lot of it goes much further than we could ever imagine.
I don’t have answers for why bad things happen to good people. I can’t even begin to understand why anyone would want to deliberately cause so much pain. But I do know, that when hate seeks to divide and tear apart, love is so much stronger, every single time.
I know it’s not popular to talk about Christianity on the internet, but fortunately, I don’t really care. If this week taught me anything, it’s the two extremes that humans are capable of. None of us were created perfect, we’re all incredibly flawed and full of sin. But we’re also all capable of so much more than our shortcomings. I suppose you can accuse me of naivety, but I completely believe, with all my heart, that we are all made for much greater things than we could ever imagine. For me, I can’t do anything without my faith. I have to choose to believe in the goodness of other people. I have to trust that goodness will prevail. I have to keep my hope in the love of people I don’t even know.
I’m not trying to make light of the attack this week. I want my city to be able to heal and move forward, and most of all, grow in our love for each other. It shouldn’t be considered a difficult thing.