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“…and now the world changes”. They were words that hung in the air, heavy and solemn. My friend let me know that his wife was fine and not in Paris where they have a second home.

During dinner with a couple the evening before, I joyfully blurted out “Christmas and New Year’s in Paris!” when asked about our holiday plans. This was news to my husband, but it would be fun and an oh-so-romantic time to be there during this beautiful season in a country that has always been so friendly and warm to me – he was onboard.

Later that night, cozy in our bed, safe in our little mountain hide-a-way, we began planning our trip. My husband found a sweet apartment for us in a lovely part of the City of Light.
We talked about all of the places we would visit and explore…and then, “the world changes”.

I, like the rest of the world, was horrified and filled with despair and prayers for the people of Paris and Lebanon. In the passing days since the attacks, there has been and ebb and flow effect of angst and anger. Each time I hear a plane has been diverted due to a bomb scare, or that ISIS is vowing to terrorize Washington DC, fear regains some momentum and I realize that the bad guys have succeeded to a certain extent.

I am a pacifist by nature and the daughter of a World War II survivor who grew up hearing the horror stories of what it was like to be a child in occupied Norway, and for the first time in my lifetime, I see a threat similar to Hitler. Only today the fight is different, the war is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. The technology is new and the reach is global. As when 9/11 fell upon us, the victims and their loved ones fate and pain touches the world.

Humanity is resilient and strong, and we always rise up to meet any challenge. Tragedies of this magnitude bring out the highest compassion, and sadly, the nastiest of bigotry and righteousness. The need to be the authority on moral and ethical grounds, is a human flaw, empathy and love are our greatest gifts. I believe faith is most personal and that we all have the right to choose who and what we believe in, or even, not to believe in anything at all.
With the deepest ache in my heart, I pray for the victims and their families, and I hope for a gentler world.

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