I received a text from a friend on Friday as I was getting Juliette up from her nap that read, “Prayers for Paris – Suspected terrorist attacks and shootings…”.  She and I had spent a year together studying abroad in Paris and fell head over heels for the city and the language and the culture while we were there.  I scrolled the latest headlines and was overwhelmed with grief as I read about the people that were gunned down at sidewalk cafes, the bombings and shootings that took 89 lives at the the Bataclan theater.  Bataclan is just half a mile from my old apartment – I walked right past it on Thursdays when I’d visit the market on Richard Lenoir.  The lives lost in France certainly aren’t any more valuable than the lives recently lost at the hands of terrorists in Beirut and Baghdad, but damn, this particular act of terror felt so close to me.  I have vivid memories of spending evenings on cafe terraces, drinking red wine with friends, feeling care-free and joy-filled and safe.  And now I can’t shake the image of a man kneeling next to an overturned table, weeping over the body of his dead friend, of blood-spattered pavement and heavily-armed police.  In the midst of this horror, extremists are rejoicing over the lives lost.  Sometimes this world feels suffocatingly dark.  God?  Where the hell are you?

As we stood and sang in church today, I felt a desperate yearning to live into the image of these words:

When Darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil

Christ alone, cornerstone
Weak made strong; in the Saviour’s love
Through the storm, He is Lord
Lord of all

May my anchor hold.  May Paris find light in the wake of unspeakable darkness.

20090412 street at dawn sm