It’s been two days now since the violent killing of people at our local airport in Ft. Lauderdale. Two days since fear struck, lives were tragically lost, and more damage was done to what fragile peace we have left living in this, our current world. A world where many of us are raising small children in the hopes that there will be a better, more peaceful world for them, with no change in site.
There is so much good in the world and so many good people. We see so many great people rise up, especially during tragedies like this. When things like this continue to be a regular occurrence though, your faith gets shaken. It starts to feel like there is so much more bad out there than good. You start to wonder if it will ever get better, especially for our children. It’s hard for anyone to come to the realization that nowhere is safe…nowhere.
On Friday I watched the event at the airport unfold on Facebook, while a friend of mine posted every few minutes about how she was running from one terminal to the next, how she was hiding to keep safe, and everything she was seeing and hearing. The constant feed of fb is usually too much for my anxiety for too long, but I was glued to my phone screen and had to see what was happening and if my friend would be alright.
The airport is just 10 minutes from where we live and I have been there countless times, sometimes with our children. I kept thinking that I could have easily been there that afternoon traveling by myself or with my family. I could have been picking up someone from the airport. I felt terrified watching it happen on social media, but knowing it was basically happening in our back yard seemed to stun me completely.
I’ve been very open about my anxiety on my blog. It’s basically one of the underlining themes of my site and I have shared my daily journey of peace on here, in hopes that I can help others who deal with the same feelings and worries. An event like this can really shake you to your core and send your anxiety reeling, even when you think you’ve got it pretty together. Even after a tumultuous 2016, I was feeling very balanced and at peace, ready to start a clean slate in the new year. That perfect peace was taken when a place I have felt safe in was completely stripped of that notion for me. For two days I’ve felt nervous, scared, and anxious. I can’t stop thinking about the victims and their loves ones or all the people who went through that terrifying experience. I keep employing my tools to find peace, starting with prayer and then going through my long list of things that aid me in easing my anxiety. All those tools help me get a hold of my feelings so that I don’t become paranoid and want to live with my family in a bubble. But the reality is, it’s going to take some work to get there. Even as I type and discuss this, I feel an intense lump in my throat growing. Fear can be so paralyzing.
So I share this with all of you to say that if you are having a hard time dealing with this tragedy, know that you’re not alone. It’s going to take time for us as a community to get through this, especially those who have lost a loved one or experienced the terror of being there. If you are feeling anxious about it all, talk to someone, whether it is a friend or a professional. Everyone worries a little bit here and there, which is very normal. If you are excessively uneasy or apprehensive, or even experiencing panic attacks, that could be a sign of serious anxiety and something that you need to confront and deal with.
I’ll be honest, it’s going to be hard to feel safe again. Personally it will take me a while to get there and my guard will be up, waiting for the next imminent event. When you think of home, (even though you know that no place is perfect) you think of your safe place. If terror takes your safe place, it’s a difficult thing to reckon with. I’m sure many of our local family and friends are also having a hard time coming to grips with what has happened here. Just know that if fear starts to dictate how you do things, it’s time to dig deep to find your peace. Don’t let terror of any kind steal your joy. Don’t let it stop you from living your life the way you want to. Don’t let it take away your safe place.
I’m digging deep over here. It’s a daily process to find peace. If you need it, I hope you will dig deep too. Peace to you all and Prayers for our Greater Ft. Lauderdale community and all of those victims of the airport shooting.
Love & Hugs,