It is very hard not to be afraid.
It was the start of my junior year in high school, in a town about an hour outside of Manhattan, on September 11, 2001. I remember everything. I remember most of all knowing that our lives would never be the same. Going home that day I hugged my parents as tight as any adolescent ever dared without seeming uncool, I watched the news in fear, crying as another building collapsed and watching a reporter start to run. I remember a day or two later friends calling asking if I wanted to go out, I said “no,” unable to believe that my friends had so quickly moved on from recent events. Were they not scared? Sad? Afraid? But maybe they were, and they just reached the inevitable conclusion faster than I did or wanted to, that life goes on, and it must go on.
In light of the recent attacks in Paris, Beirut, and Kenya, it is very hard not to be afraid. It is very easy to close off the rest of the world at a time when we ultimately should not. It is all too easy to hide.
In the United States in the past year, we have seen terror in the form of mass school shootings, mass murders in houses of worship and murders on live TV, to name a few. So I beg myself, and I beg you, not to be afraid. Life will go on, and the greatest weapon we have is the willingness to let it, to continue to travel, to welcome in those who are lost, to see the world through another set of eyes, and continue to love.
“Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.” Anne Frank