Fear and Pain

By Nick Matheson

Once again, the world is reeling from tragic circumstances. Once again, we are faced with the fear brought on by random and senseless attacks. Once again, the world is on high alert. The goal of terrorism is to terrorize and make us change the way we live.

It just so happens that Lori and I are traveling to Paris this week. I cannot say that I have not had second thoughts, though I am inspired by Parisians insisting that they will not be afraid and continuing to celebrate liberty. After all, #parisisaboutlife. Though there will be mourning, I am inspired to bring whatever love I can to and from this great city.

Reading countless news articles and travel advisories over the last couple of days, I was reminded of the counsel I’ve often offered to those struggling to overcome pain: benign vigilance. In other words, pay attention and notice what the body is communicating; however, do not be overwhelmed and immobilized by fear. Ignoring a problem does not make it go away. Facing challenges with awareness, compassion, and intelligence is, in my experience, the best response. This week I will travel with a new vigilance, but I refuse to be afraid.

The world is full of pain. At its best, pain is a means of elevating awareness. My heart goes out to those personally touched by hateful acts, including those that perpetrate them. Once again, the world needs all that la ville de l’amour represents.

Love and Peace.