I’ve been reluctant to write about this, but it’s been weighing on my mind, and after talking with my mom yesterday, I realized I’m not the only one feeling this way.
The growing frequency of mass violence and attacks is affecting me deeply.
This summer, after the attack on a church in Charleston, I had a panic attack. Not too long after the incident, Nick and I were in church when a man walked into the back near where we were sitting. I took notice that he arrived near the end of Mass and just seemed to be walking around. I couldn’t get the idea out of my mind that something bad could happen. I felt so physically and emotionally overwhelmed and panicked that I made Nick leave church with me.
More recently, Nick and I went to see Mockingjay Part 2 just days after the violence in Paris. I think in part because it was a violent movie, I again couldn’t shake the feeling that there could be someone in the theater who wanted to hurt everyone there. This time I took better control of my anxiety and stayed through the film, but I opened up to Nick once we were out in the car. I even cried a bit, just because the tension I was feeling was releasing.
On both occasions, one voice told me that my fears were not entirely rational, another voice told me that the victims of terrorism likely never saw it coming, and a third voice told me to keep faith. This last is the voice that Nick echos when we have conversations regarding these fears of mine.
In this Advent season, in the midst of violence around the world, I feel an even deeper need to cling to my faith. My faith cannot make sense of the violence, but it does allow me to have hope in the face of fear.