In the face of tragedy

Last night, as I sat waiting for news, for updates, for people to hit that “I’m safe” button on Facebook, I posted this to a Facebook group of Via Podiensis (Le Puy to St. Jean) pilgrims:

Seven months ago, I did not personally know anyone who lived in Paris. I had never even been to France.

Last night, when I heard about the tragedy unfolding half a world away from where I sat, safe in Seattle, my mind flooded with specific names and faces, true friends I made as I walked the Way and who were now far too close to danger. People who realistically could be at a concert or a soccer match or a restaurant on a normal Friday night in November.

This is a gift that the Via Podiensis, the Way of Saint Jacques, gave me: to feel the world much closer, and much more personally. To know a place not just as a name on a map, but as someone’s home.

My heart is in France today, and my prayers are with all of you who are physically there.

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Photo by fdecomite

“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Do not be afraid.”

(Frederick Buechner)

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