Paris has always represented joy, music, art, laughter, elegance. The museums, the cafes, the patisseries, the shops… And, always, the lights. Paris has long been known as the City of Light. And one thing we know about light, is that it can never be extinguished by the dark. One of the reasons Paris has been called the City of Light is because the Age of Enlightenment was started there. Around the 18th century, the Age of Enlightenment was a philosophical movement that espoused individual liberty, freedom, reason, and, ironically, religious tolerance. I say ironically, because this heinous attack has been claimed by a group of radical extremists. Throughout history, the darkness has always attempted to extinguish the light, and has repeatedly failed to do so. During WWII, the Germans occupied Paris in 1940, attempting to crush it’s spirit then. They did not succeed. In 1944, the Allies and the French Resistance drove the Germans out of Paris, and the Parisiennes reclaimed their city.
I have always been moved by music, I believe music speaks to our hearts. The reason the Edith Piaf song spoke to me regarding this tragedy, is because it is an anthem of new beginnings in the face of pain. That no matter how many times our hearts may be broken, we have the courage to love again, dream again, find joy again. Paris has always been the city of lovers, the city of joy. In the days, weeks, and months to come, as we all mourn, tend to the wounded, bury the dead, may we all choose to live from the light and joy in life that Paris, and places like it, represent.
There will always be the hate-filled crazies that are just looking for an excuse to kill something. People, animals, nature, anything. That is the signature of the dark. Hatred and violence. The signature of the light is love. Love, laughter, and joy.
And as for me, here’s what I don’t regret, both for myself, and for humanity: I don’t regret living from an open heart, even though I have been hurt. I don’t regret being sensitive, being alive to life, both the good and the bad. The alternative to being sensitive is to become numb, shut down. And that is not an option for any of us. So, like Edith Piaf, I regret nothing. Today, I stand with the people of Paris, and with who they have always been. Free spirits, sensitive, enlightened, philosophical. I light a virtual cigarette, have a virtual cup of coffee in one of the cafes, with Edith Piaf playing in the background, And with joined arms and joined hearts, we rebuild. The world stands with Paris today, and for as long as it takes to heal. The light will prevail. It always does. We will continue to live from that, and regret nothing. Blessings, Judith