Friday, November 13th, 2015

Image credit: twitter.com/jean_jullien
Image credit: twitter.com/jean_jullien

*I would just like to emphasise that this is an account of my personal response to the events in Paris, which may or may not coincide with the opinions of others.

 

 

Today I attended “gift curry,”

an event at a temple

tucked away in the hills

behind my house.

 

“Gift curry” the event

was inspired by

Himself He Cooks – 

 

an award-winning

documentary which takes us to

the Golden Temple in

Amritsar where, each day, 300

volunteers prepare and serve

up to 50,000 free meals,

all made from donated food.

 

It took one young woman

with an open heart and a

willing soul who watched this

film and thought, “If they can

do it there, we can here.”

 

One young woman with her

enthusiasm and the

strength of character to

believe in herself and

follow though on her

dreams.

 

One young woman with a

desire to champion caring,

community, and giving without

expectation of

anything in return.

 

One young woman and her

receptive friend who

stepped up; said

“Let’s make it happen.”

 

And they did.

 

They invited others to

share in their

vision, to give of

themselves in

service.

 

And today it came about –

the culmination of several

months of hard work and planning.

 

From early this

morning there was a

team of volunteers on kitchen

and car park duty at the

temple. Gifts of rice and

vegetables were

gratefully received and the

volunteers went to

work.

 

Knives chopped non-stop in the

kitchen as strangers worked

side by side, united in their

common purpose.

 

A very different context to the

free kitchen in Punjab for

sure –

I know without a doubt that

all of the people at the

temple today could afford to

buy their own lunch

several times over.

 

But an act of service all the

same, motivated by the genuine

desire to create a space for

community –

 

for giving; for receiving;

for sharing.

 

For working together towards

a greater good.

 

People sharing their time, their

gifts, their experience, their

hearts; remembering what

community is

all about.

 

Over a hundred people were

served a meal of three kinds of

curry, two kinds of rice and

a selection of pickles. So many people

brought gifts of food that there was a

whole host of other things besides and

more tables had to be found to

accommodate it all.

 

A local dancer gave us the gift of

her art performed in front of the

temple’s altar, and a man

who had traveled extensively in

India shared with us the

gift of his knowledge.

 

And everywhere people lent their

hands in any way they

could –

wiping tables,

washing plates,

carrying chairs,

befriending those of us who came alone.

 

I drove home with a

warmth in my heart.

 

I was thinking what a beautiful

world we live in.

 

Of the love and generosity in

people’s hearts.

 

Of the power we have to create something

bigger than we are when we

unite.

 

Of the power we all have to follow our

hearts,

make a difference in the world.

 

The beauty of the temple’s

gingko tree in its full

fall splendour, its yellow

leaves distinct against a

magnificent backdrop of

rain and mist soaked

mountains etched itself

on my heart and I thought –

“What a wonderful world

we live in; what a paradise

here on Earth.”

 

That was before I got

home and turned on my

computer; saw the news –

 

At least 120

dead

in terrorist attacks in

Paris.

 

Many,

many

more injured.

 

The magnificent city

devastated by the

senseless act of

terror;

its people grieving,

numbed.

 

It was at that point that my thinking was on

the verge

of turning itself around.

 

“What a f****d up world we live in,” I heard –

a sad, disillusioned voice in my head.

 

And it was then that I decided I

wouldn’t

let my heart be

hardened.

 

Because by God this is a

world of beauty and

goodness as well as one of

pain.

 

And if we let the ones

who want to cause us

terror

harden our hearts so that

we can no longer see that, then –

in every way –

they’ve won.

 

Yes let’s mourn and grieve the

irreplaceable loss of

life. The senselessness and

brutality of the violence

perpetrated against the

people of Paris.

 

The pain and darkness in

the lives and hearts of some

that bring them to the

place where they pull that

trigger, detonate the bomb.

 

The misplaced

nationalistic, racist or

religious zeal that is an all-

consuming fire in the hearts of

others, persuading them they’re

justified,

within their moral right to

commit such an

act – one that contravenes the

sanctity of life.

 

Let us continue, in the

days to come, to

mourn and grieve

each and every

precious life

lost

to terrorism in Paris and

countries all over the world.

 

But let us also hold onto the

goodness; the

beauty.

 

The individual and combined

endeavours to shape this world

into a better place.

 

All that is

right

in people’s hearts and

in the world at large.

 

Let us hold it

up;

 

an act of

defiance against those who

want to besmirch our hearts,

minds and lives with their

darkness.

 

And, in solidarity, let

us unite –

 

world citizens of and for

a peace

a hope

 

that transcends all

borders,

 

transcends the superficial

distinctions we

impose on ourselves.

 

United in our

humanity

 

as we hold the

people of Paris up,

honour them in our hearts.

 

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2 thoughts on “Friday, November 13th, 2015”

  1. This is so beautiful, Julia. To me, it feels as though it was part of the divine plan that your heart was so filled up with so much love and compassion and joy before you had to receive this other news. And your beautiful writing shares that love and compassion so beautifully. xox, Reba

    Liked by 1 person

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