I still don't have the heart to post my usual weekend links, but I want to post something.
I checked the weather yesterday morning and noticed that we're about to get a turn towards cooler temperatures. If I wanted my walk on the beach to celebrate the release of Missed Chances to be a barefoot walk, yesterday was my day.
And what a day it was.
The tide was very low, giving me a nice wide expanse of packed sand on which to stroll. The sun was warm, and the water not too cold on my feet. As so often happens when I walk on the beach, I could feel the tense muscles in my back relaxing.
And the seashell haul was pretty good, too.
I even left one big, beautiful sand dollar where I found it, because I thought it might still have someone in it. A quick search upon getting home told me that sand dollars are sea urchins, not shells, so if it wasn't fuzzy, it wasn't alive. Oh well. Someone else can take that beautiful specimen home with them.
I left the beach in a wonderful mood. All was well with the world.
Except, of course, it wasn't.
I read some of the news from Paris, and also from Beirut and Baghdad. And then I made the decision to close my laptop and put down my phone. I am not eloquent enough to be able to write words that will provide comfort in these sorts of situations. So I didn't try, and I spent the night with my family instead.
I still do not have eloquent words this morning.
I think dealing with the sort of hatred that created the attacks yesterday is one of the biggest challenges of our time. If we think that we are immune to that hatred, we are wrong: the same sort of hatred motivated the church shooting in Charleston. The lure of that hatred is everywhere, and it pulls on everyone.
My grandparents' generation faced the challenge of a state that would kill anyone it did not deem the "right" sort of person, a state we now recognize as evil. We face the same sort of threat, but from "non-state actors."
I understand the impulse to "go to war" after yesterday's attacks. I hope that our leaders are wise enough to temper that impulse with some careful thought about what sort of response will actually be effective. I hope they can lead us to look for solutions, and not revenge.
I do not know if there is a useful role for military action in this response. Probably there is. But I do not think we will win this fight with the military. There is no state to defeat, no single leader to topple to bring this struggle to an end.
I think we have to fight this one with words, and with love.
I think we have to refuse to judge entire groups of people based on the actions of the worst among them. We have to keep working to make the world better for everyone, not just the people we think are like us. We have to make a life lived in harmony with the rest of us more appealing that a life spent fighting us.
Or something like that. I am no expert on this. All I can think, though, is we've tried the military method, and I am not convinced it is working. Maybe we should try something else.
But those are discussions for another day. Today, I mourn for the victims of yesterday's attacks. I wish for comfort and solace for the survivors. I send love to my Muslim friends and neighbors, who I know are as horrified by the attacks as I am. And I hope we find a way to make a world where there is peace for all of us.