What happens when you can’t simply turn off the TV and choose to ignore all the bad news. It’s easier to distance yourself when you believe something does not directly affect you, but you come to learn that everything and everyone is connected. This week my home city got a taste of the daily struggle of people in conflict zones across the globe. I don’t have the option of simply disengaging because terror came knocking on our door. My adopted city, Manchester, is an amazing place to live I have been leaving Manchester since I was about 6 but it keeps pulling me back, I’ve never fully understood the attraction until this week. The people are a diverse bunch, the overwhelming majority of whom are warm and friendly, the city is full of life with events and attractions all year round for all to enjoy, Manchester Arena is one of them.
I have been to concerts at the Arena, taken my kids there, walked passed there on many occasions never have I had a reason to feel unsafe. For a couple of days, that feeling changed and I began to think about whether going into town was ever going to be an option again. Thankfully the spirit of Manchester has helped me realise that with love and hope we can move forward and towards eliminating hurtful hate and actions. Loving and finding acceptance through pain is a tough thing to do but with time and the right people around it does happen. I can’t even begin to imagine what the families of those who lost their lives and those who were injured are going through but with the wonderful compassionate response from around the world and from the local community, things are made just that little bit easier.
What doesn’t break you makes you stronger and Manchester is definitely not broken, I sincerely hope terrorists are noting that their actions serve no other purpose than to bring the rest of the world closer together. Do they not realise that all their efforts are in vain? For centuries terrorists have been losing, they have been causing disruption, hurting the innocent and spending their lives hidden in the shadows only to be thwarted and meet miserable ends themselves. The positivity of unity, empathy and solidarity will always win over negative divisive behaviour, yet repeatedly new threats arise signifying an imperfect system. While we are good at rooting out evil we need to get better at stamping out the seeds of evil which include inequality, injustice, ignorance, and isolation. I've just realised all the seeds I have identified begin with 'I', the message that sends to me is selfishness or the interests of the individual or few breeds hate. 7.5 billion of us share this tiny planet, if we were meant to live isolated disconnected lives surely we would all have our own planets or at least Islands, but that was not God's plan. He created us all equal and gave us each other with our individual strengths and weaknesses so that we could work and live happily together as one and thrive.
I encourage you to do as much as you can in your homes and communities to stamp out the seeds of evil. Change begins with the individual and quickly spreads, as it should, making positive change viral should be a global goal.