Saturday, November 14, 2015

On hockey, terrorism and love


Tonight I went to a hockey game. I took a co-worker and his daughter. We sat in the suite. I have done this with many of my friends probably close to two hundred times over the last five years.

While we were watching the game, I had this moment. I looked in the arena and I thought, If a terrorist came into this arena right now, what would I do? How would I be safe? He couldn't get in through the door from the outside it's locked with a pass code, but he could easily jump in from the front and shoot us all quickly. There really isn't anywhere to hide. I would be unable to protect myself.

I sat in that seat stunned by my own thoughts. I couldn't believe I had let that entire scenario play through my mind. And it had fully played through my mind. People screaming, chaos, panic, bloodshed. Had I given in to fear? Was this how it was going to be for me from now on? Looking for a zealot in every dark corner?

Today, I got an email from a student's mother. She had taken her child on vacation this week as a way to 'ease her child into Europe with a wonderful first trip to Paris' was how she put it. They are, at the very moment I write this, still in Paris mostly on lockdown hoping to fly home tomorrow. I had been praying for their safety and had written an email to my student's mom on Friday without really expecting a reply. I couldn't believe how relieved I was to read that both of them were safe and okay - shaken, but okay. And that's how I felt - shaken, but okay.

Today, I also had to unfollow a friend on facebook for posting that 'if nuclear weapons worked in Japan they would work even better in the Middle East'. The post hurt too much. It made me too sad to even look at in my feed. It was so much hate. So much anger. So much fanaticism to deal with fanatics. And even though it made me sad to do it, because I care about the person and I acknowledge his own frustrations and sadness, I hit the unfollow button. Even at the car shop today, after spending two hours laughing and joking and talking about life with the guy behind the counter, as I was finally checking out, he started to tell me what HE would do with THOSE people in Paris.

I looked at him, smiled kindly and gently but firmly said, "Sir, I am not the person you want to have this conversation with."

And he said back to me, "But you know there are a billion of 'em, right?"

And I said, "Less than 1% are radical, but sir, really, you do not want to have this conversation with me." And he uncomfortably backed off.
Tonight, at the hockey game, for a moment I almost cried. I realized if *I* - a person of almost perpetual positivity - could sit in a stadium and contemplate terrorism, it's no wonder the world is afraid. It's no wonder we are all edgy and scared and feeling tremendously alone. 

When I got home. I put on the fire, made myself a cup of Bengal Spice tea and started to write this blog. I realized I don't want to be and won't be that person. I won't be that woman that looks in every movie theater, and hockey arena, and taxi cab, and plane seat for the bad guy. For the evil extremist that wants to kill me. I am not going to let fear win. 

Because over the last few days I have been thinking about love. About the people I love, the family I love, the child I love, the children I love, the sister and father and students and life I love and I am not going to let fear win.

I wish you all peace. And love. And I hope you can use love to find your own way through the hate and the fear and the rage and the helplessness. If possible, I hope you can find your own peace and your own reasons not to give up on love, on humanity, on peace, and on kindness. And while you process and find your own way, I'm going to try my best to be one of the caring people Mr. Rogers spoke so eloquently about:

Peace, love and light,



Roberta said...

Thank you, MaryKate, for these thoughful words of understanding and peace. Hugs from the quiet Hill, R

Mary Kate said...

Thank you, friend. It's a true joy to have you in my life. <3