I’ve been in love with Paris, France since I was young.
I remember growing up watching Madeline. Somehow she made living in a boarding school with nuns look like the best time ever. I wanted her hat.
When given the option, I always asked for or ordered French Toast. It was actually one of the first things I learned to cook. (I realize that’s not actually French, but tell that to 7-year-old me. I dare you.)
In high school, I took French. Mind you, I am of Mexican descent so Spanish probably would have served me better (especially when my family members suddenly switched from English to hide something).
From chocolate croissants to les Champs-Élysées, I have always loved absolutely everything Paris had to offer. My 18th birthday party/graduation party was even Paris-themed.
Maybe that’s part of why my heart is so unbearably heavy.
I think we might romanticize places in our mind. To me, Paris always represented this gorgeous, flowing way of life with beautiful architecture, art and culture.
That image was shattered when acts of terror rained down. We sat, helplessly watching as news poured in. The death count climbed higher and higher.
Over a hundred lives. The news is reporting over a hundred lives have been taken.
An act of terror.
Your city was targeted. Your innocent citizens killed in cold blood. The people who attacked you aren’t brave. They aren’t strong.
These people calculated how many people they could take down. They strategized the most effective way of murdering as many as they could. They were organized. They were heartless. They were cruel. They looked at your city and saw a bullseye.
They took your people. They shook your nation. They shook the entire world.
But in the wake of these tragedies…remember this:
They’ve only won if you let them.
They want you scared. They want their act of violence to stop you from living your life. They want to make a statement that they are in control.
YOU are in control. YOU are in the driver’s seat.
We cannot let the terrorists win. They’re playing a deadly game but you’ll have the upper hand.
The only people who can win this game are the terrorists themselves. There is no way for you to win. But you can end it. It begins with bloodshed. It continues with mass hysteria and loss of a feeling of security. It only ends when you push yourself to continue living your life.
It’s hard. You’ve been given a huge task.
We mourn with you. Our hearts are heavy thinking of your lost loved ones. You are not alone in your grief. Some will pray, some will meditate, some will even shed tears.
Grieve. Grieve for the lives taken too soon.
Hold your loved ones a little closer.
Reflect on your life and how finite it is.
But remember to go out and live.
My hope and prayer is for peace, strength and comfort for every single person affected by these tragedies. Like a Phoenix, we will watch you rise. Bent but not broken, united in the mission to end it.
We’re with you.
To Paris, With Love.