It is better to ake refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.
The Lord is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation.
Psalm 118:8, 14
I don’t know how to react to the terrorist attacks in London. Clearly I can do no more than pray for those involved and those I know, and I’ve done so diligently since hearing of the bombings. Yet for all my physical distance, I feel more closely tied to the events than that, having just returned from central London. I know the tube stations where those bombs went off; I went to Edgeware Road for the Church Street market, and the Aldgate station while looking for a development trust. And I know people in London now, and although they’re well away from the bombing sites that makes it all the more real. I wrote to them immeditately when I heard the news, just hoping and praying they would not have for some reason gone into central London. One replied to my concerned email:
we’ll all be ok – british fighting spirit and stiff upper lip and all that.
I admire that response. It’s brave and I’m glad to hear that the terrorists are failing in their ultimate goal. They can kill peoples’ bodies, but bombs in the Tubes (horrible though they are) cannot kill the Londoners’ spirit.
I’ll keep praying and reading the news, and that’s all I can do. I just thank God that I left London when I did. I complained while there in early May that I missed Ian’s graduation, which took place a week after I left. Yet if E-term had been shifted a week later as I desired, I would still have been in London yesterday. I suppose that’s God working in ways we cannot understand, protecting us… Even protecting those involved, because although they guess 50 people died, the toll could have been much worse. I don’t know why it wasn’t, since they hit during rush-hour when people literally jam onto Tube trains like sardines in a can. It sounds odd, but God is gracious even in these attacks; I will just keep praying for everybody involved.
One thing I feel shame for: the American response, which of course had to entail militaristic promises. Can’t we take a leaf out of the Canadian book and extend sorrow and sympathy? Offer whaver aid is necessary (not much, I imagine; it’s not as if London were totally decimated, thankfully) and not go banging swords on shields? What has our War on Terror done but perhaps cause these bombings in the first place? Would al-Quaida (if that’s who did it) have chosen those targets in London if Britain hadn’t stood so firmly with the US in its Iraq War? But that’s water under the bridge. Now London and the UK will respond to their terrorist attacks and show the world their mettle.
For all I’ve just said, I’m in shock. Thinking about it weighs my heart down. Yes, I’ve cried for them — more than New York on 9/11, even. Because I’ve lived in London, connected to the people and learned to love the place. New York is just a name for me, photographs and scenes in movies. London is real and I loved it and I cannot, cannot believe people could or would bomb such a wonderful place with its lovely people. It’ll take a while to sink in, I suppose.
P.S.: My first reaction when hearing about the news, after crying, was to make myself a nice cup of tea. Thanks, Jenny, for offering all those times — it really helps!