Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain

Black Friday



The Statue of Liberty was a gift to the U.S. by France as a symbol of freedom and democracy

Did you know, young man with the rest of your life ahead of you, when you left for the concert that yesterday would be your last day?  Did you hug your parents?  Did you tell them you love them?  Did you have plans for today?  For tomorrow? For the rest of your life?

Did you know, young couple madly in love, while you sat in the crisp air on the sidewalk of the café sipping your wine, having easy conversation with your lover, anticipating your meal that it would be your last? Were you talking about the weather?  The children?  Work?  Your future together?  That trip you were going to take?

How could you have known?

Who were you going to call today?  Your mother?  Your sister?  Was today the first day of that long-overdue vacation? Were your children playing soccer today?  Was your phone filled with contacts and a full calendar?  Is today your birthday?

I’ve thought of you full of life on the morning of November 13, 2015, what your life might have been like, full of promise. I’ve thought of you on the street, going about your daily life, not expecting what would come next.  I’ve thought of the horror you experienced as you realized what was about to happen to you.  I’ve thought of your lifeless body, shrouded with sheets, lying there in the coldness of the night.

I’ve also thought about the streets filled with people, defiantly marching in remembrance of you, chanting and holding their signs.  Their signs say they are not afraid.


I suspect that they are afraid, though.  I’m afraid.  No one is safe.  No one is immune.  But we are something more, something stronger than fear.  We are courageous.  Take heart, France.  We are with you.  We are afraid, but we will stand with you through the fear today, the day after a very Black Friday.  And every day after that.

When we are afraid we ought not to occupy ourselves with endeavoring to prove that there is no danger, but in strengthening ourselves to go on in spite of the danger.  ~Mark Rutherford

17 thoughts on “Black Friday

  1. Thank you, Ruth.

    We were glued to the television last night, sick at heart. So sad, so terribly sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Our television has hardly moved from a news channel since the story broke. I cannot bear to watch endlessly, though I have been in other parts of the house and can hear it in the background.

      Most days I have so much hope for humanity but if I glue myself to the broadcasting of events like this I end up with a sense of hopelessness. I know that the majority of people are good but the knowledge that even a small number of sick people can inflict such suffering on so many makes me less than hopeful for the whole of humanity.


  2. Madness. Sick, perverted madness.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thoughtful, sobering words. A reminder of the brevity and uncertainty of life.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ruth that is a lovely way to reflect on a horrible event.

    A couple of days ago I walked past a World War one memorial. I was taken back to see the numbers of names, there were 552 in all. Those from my State who died in World War One. At that time my State had a population of less than 90,000 (Tasmania in Australia). I thought, how this must have hurt communities to have such a high death toll. All those lives that could have lived a life of benefit for humanity cut down in one of the most senseless wars in history (most war is senseless but WW1 is surely one of the most pointless wars ever).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know anyone from Paris. There are friends of friends that are there and are safe for now. I just can’t help but reflect that they were just going about living their lives, just like you and I. I can’t help but wonder were some of their last words harsh for their loves ones or did they whisper, “I love you,” as they left their loved ones for the last time. We never know what is going to happen to us.


  5. So many innocent lives destroyed yesterday. The world grieves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed it does. These extremists are engaging in gorilla warfare. They do not play by the same rules of engagement as state military organizations. For them there are no rules.


  6. Nicely written. In contrast to others, I avoid long exposure to media coverage. Also in contrast to many, I see fault on both sides. Much besides religion is involved in what is happening. The US doesn’t have clean hands – Guantanamo, propping up the Shah and now the Saudi’s, Diego Garcia – are but a few instances of us sowing hatred around the world. The formation of Israel too by the Western powers was very cruel and heavy handed. The French/Algerian history is ugly.

    As an atheist, I am simply saying that more than religion is involved in what is happening. It is heartening that many moderate Muslims have condemned the events in Paris.

    But each side, upon being inflicted with horrible loss, uses that to justify doing more against the other. No, I look at human behavior and do not have sanguine hopes for the future.

    So do seize the day. Give this poem a read:


    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed, exrelayman. People hate. Religious and irreligious alike. What I do see is humans using religion to justify their hatred and xenophobia.

      You are right that more than religion is involved. You are right that we have been at war one with another since the beginning of humanity. While religion may not be the catalyst it certainly solidifies the line between “us” and “them”.


  7. Out right murder and genocide, and any/all astrocities against humanity are wronger than wrong and deserve “global” justice standards. With that said…

    Does anyone in the West truly understand the dynamics of all the various Islamic sects within the overall workings of the Muslim faith and the Quran’s passages on violence? It is also highly recommended that the West — specifically Jews and Christians — understand that ALL THREE Abrahamic faiths, along with their “holy scriptures” have open-ended passages regarding treatment of “Non-believers”. It’s clear to me that the core of the terrorism/genocides, etc, from all three Abrahamic religions stems from the foundations of their own theologies, ideologies, and apathy-passiveness within their own congregations toward their own… American Jews and Christians included.

    Fyi “faith-followers”… it is WAY PAST time to evolve higher. Have the courage and step up. For those of us who do not follow any mythical religious ideologies, confronting violence with more violence has shown more times than not that it is NOT the long-term solution.

    Ask yourself, how would you approach a religious extremist that are EVERYWHERE in the world, including your own borders? How do you treat them?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s