Saturday. November 14, 2015.

Sitting at a café trying to write this, I’ve been staring at my screen for hours unable to put a sentence together.  It’s normally crowded in here on a Saturday afternoon, packed with students from nearby AUP (The American University of Paris) and smiling tourists who’ve just visited the Eiffel Tower a few blocks away.  Today though it’s empty – aside from myself and a lovely Italian couple seated just in front of me, who is all over each other.  Somehow their display of public affection is comforting; it reminds me that love is alive and well in Paris, despite the horrific events of last night and the difficulty that lies ahead.   I feel lucky and grateful to be here in my cozy little nook, with the security blanket of my laptop and café crème, while many others have been much less fortunate.  Like you, I feel sick about the loss of life, the injured victims and their families, and the city and world in which things like this happen.

The constant sound of sirens reminds me too much of the time just post-9/11 in New York.  In some strange way, living through that makes some of this feel oddly familiar – the panicky feeling, the need to escape even a small crowd, and the fear that will probably persist for awhile.  Tragically, events like these occur in the world far more often than many of us know, due to insufficient coverage.  It’s not fair by any means – and needs to change – but somehow today, in this moment, it doesn’t seem to be the point.  What does feel urgent today is that those of us who are blessed enough to be here really try to connect with the love in our hearts.  Of course we are angry, we are devastated, we are so many different emotions right now — and they are all valid.  It’s frightening to consider what the future may bring, and that things may shift in a dangerous direction politically rather than in a positive and productive one.  But today I choose love and I choose hope.  And as Hallmark-card-ish as that may sound, I think it’s critical.  Without each of us believing in and being the positive change, it won’t happen.

I needed to write you personally because you truly matter to me.  For those of you who are struggling, my heart is with you – 100% and always.  Since launching 2 months ago, we are developing a beautiful community of people like you — who appreciate real inspiration, care and positivity.  People who want to embrace life, to feel connected and who are not afraid to fight for their dreams.  Whether 5 people or 5 million people read this, it’s not so important. What does matter is that you know each article we publish is written with a deep desire to connect, inform and uplift you.   We fiercely believe in goodness and humanity, and that love conquers all.

Please hold everyone you love just a little more close.  And don’t be afraid to look a stranger in the eyes and smile.  We are one world.

With love, hope and gratitude,
JK

Editor, No Bubblegum.