The Man Who Watched Them Die

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Thoughts / Uncategorized

Tonight I turned on the world news while I was organizing bookshelves upstairs. I absorb news coverage in cycles; it usually begins with guilt of not being informed and ends with me being overwhelmed by being over-informed on the crappiness of the world. And after a few weeks the cycle begins again. Anyway. Tonight I saw a reporter speaking with a man who was at one of the restaurants targeted during the Paris attacks waiting with the wounded until help came. The reporter asked why he stayed with them and the man simply stated very composed that there was nothing he could do to help them medically so he laid down beside them as they died, because in his words, “No one should die alone.”

I know this whole thing is a mess and as much as we promised ourselves we weren’t going to use this to make our points known on the refugee crisis or Islamophobia or national security, we all up gave up on that notion half an hour later. And now that we’re four days removed and we’ve posted our thoughts in ALL CAPS and strategically clicked “like” on all the articles that give us a sense of justice and order, and our poor little fingers can barely type another grievance against one another, there’s still just a sense of sadness that even our anger can’t cover up. I know many of us were upset that Beruit didn’t get the appropriate attention it deserved and it’s uncomfortable knowing some atrocities garner more public grieving than others. It’s all horrific. I always think about Jon Stewart’s comment about going back to work after 9/11, “Because apparently there are no positions open for grown men in the fetal position crying under their desks.”

I guess what I was absorbing tonight watching that segment is that in the thirty minutes we held our crap together, mainly by shock, while we watched what happened in Paris unfold, a man laid down next to strangers and looked them in the eyes while they died because he knew humans need each other. Guys, it’s never too late for us to start loving our neighbors. And Jesus raised the bar even higher and said love your enemies. We forget this is what it means to be like Jesus.

We are all made in God’s image and I couldn’t be more honored to live in a world, as messed up as it is, where a man in Paris reflected that likeness by loving his neighbors in their last moments with us.

I’m just going to crawl under the pile of books I’m organizing and have a good cry.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:31-32


  1. Wow, this is so moving. How amazing to have found this beautiful treasure amongst the rubble and ashes of humanities most inhuman acts of violence. Thank you for drawing attention to this man, with such a beautiful heart for people in their last hours.

    • Thank you for taking the time to read and say a few kind words, Wendy. It’s encouraging to know there is a healing community out there as we deal with loss on every kind of level. I’m so sorry to read about the loss of your husband. Praying for you as you’re in the daily grind of your new normal that you would have a great support system. God Bless!

      • Thank you for this kind response. God is good to me. I have been taken care of and am not walking alone. Thank you for your kind words concerning our loss.

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