My brain is in turmoil, my heart has sunken to the bottom of my feet. Another attack. Children. This time they targeted children. Children. I don’t know what to think anymore. I am, first and foremost, a mom. Everything I do is for my children. Whether it’s a roof over their heads, food in their bellies, love in their hearts or exploring the world. I am a mom. What I do, what I say, matters. It shapes young minds.

Now my mind is filled with such anger. My internal pendulum has swung far right. Close the borders. Hate all muslims. Bomb the middle east. My soul is dirty and disgusting. I don’t want to share it. Show it. I certainly don’t want to die and face St. Peter at the Pearly Gates. Not like this. This is not really me.

The real me is loving, compassionate, a good Catholic. I strive to walk in Jesus’ footsteps. To love my fellow neighbors, all of them. Not just the easy to love, but also those that are hard, scary, not-Christian. All the people. I have served on mission trips. I have served on my doorstep. I have fed people living in the poorest of conditions. I have clothed them. I have loved them. I have watched them die. I have prayed for them.

The thing is, they are not really a “them”. They are people. They are a person. Each individual person is a wonder of God. A blessing. A grace. Each person matters. I believe this. I do. And yet, since yesterday all the individuals have blended together into a they. The they who is responsible for yesterday’s attack in Manchester. The news says: ISIS Claims Responsibility. And that is the rub. There is no one person to hate. There is no one leader. There is no one person calling the shots. It is an entire group. It is a They.

And they are smart. They know this about me. About us. They send out their jihadists mixed indiscernible with their refugees. Refugees who have lived a horrible existence. Hungry. Homeless. Lost. Refugees who desperately need saving from the terror in their own homeland. My heart aches to help. Not just my heart, my brain tells me this is the rational thing to do. Help. My soul commands me to help. It is not my job to judge. And then. They attack children. The individuals blend together again and become a they. They are not okay.

I want to protect my children from Them. I don’t want a world where our entire way of life is under attack. Not just physical attacks, but the slow insidious infiltration of our societies. Changing what is normal. Accepted. Embraced. I don’t want my daughter growing up knowing she is anything less than equal. Anything less than her brothers. I want her to feel the world is her oyster. She can be anyone. She can wear anything. She can speak any words. She has freedom to learn, work, travel, love, live. Choice. All of these freedoms are in danger. Especially for women.

How do I balance her right to freedom? How do I balance my hate? How do I continue to walk in His footsteps without a clear path?

I am lost.

Pray for Manchester