So on Thanksgiving Day, I remember and I am grateful. I am grateful for what I have learned about myself since the day I heard the diagnosis. Grateful for the surgeons and the nurses and my best friend from high school who insisted four years ago that I get my blood checked, just in case something was wrong.
Never once in my life did I think I would hear an actual explosion, nor did I expect to be in walking distance of a terrorist attack. No one ever plans for these things, nor are you ever really prepared. My experience in Paris reshaped the way I look at studying abroad. In no way will it stop me from traveling, but it will make go about it in a different way.
That Friday evening I was just beginning to lead a weekend retreat at the Kirkridge Retreat Center in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, when we received word about the terrorist attacks in Paris. Like everyone else, we were grief-stricken, but we regrouped and became even more determined to dive deep into our retreat.
While the action in the Middle East should lead to both terror attacks and fears leveling off over time, an equally important part of the fight is within French borders. There is no justification in the world for terrorism. But if these areas are not given hope, some of its residents become tempted by radical Islam.