The moon is hanging in the sky, looking down at my hometown. Jølster, a beautiful spot on the Norwegian map, sits under the blanket of stars, almost touching the sky with its mountain tops.
It’s eastern, and that means finally spending time with my family. We’ve eaten dinner and played board games, laughing and talking. I’ve made some songs while playing on the piano and taken a walk, watching the glittering snow relaxing on the ground. The only thing that’s been irritating me is how changed the landscape has become. Scarred by excavators eating away the green fields, have made Jølster unrecognizable. Hopefully this will lead to better roads eventually, but right now my home place has turned into a troll.
My psychologist heart tries to convince me that I shouldn’t focus on this. Instead it reminds me how lucky I am. I get to be with my loved ones and create new memories. That’s all that matters.
Today is my last day at work. I can’t believe that it’s already been a year. In ten days I’m starting working with adults like I did before and I really look forward to it. All though I never found my calling working in the school system, I have still learnt a lot. And I have also been very happy with the people I’ve met here. They have always been nice and comfortable to be around.
We had lunch together for the last time today. I brought two cakes I struggled with yesterday. To my surprise, my leader had made a cake also, and I almost started to cry. She held a speech where she said so many nice things about me, so I really feel like they are satisfied with the work I’ve done here. The rest of the day has been full of hugs and nice conversions, and this evening some of us will go out and have a drink to say properly goodbye.
We have reached the top of the mountain, and are preparing to walk down again. There is only one problem: Fog is enveloping the mountain, making it difficult to orient ourselves as we start making our way back. We have to turn around a lot of times, and try new paths. Me and my best friend, do our best. We ask people walking upwards, where they come from and continue optimistically. But still, we get lost. A sign points us in a direction that goes nowhere. Suddenly we are surrounded by threes, and my friend remarks that this is what she loves about walking in the mountain. The unrealistic and somewhat dreamy quality of the landscape. The fog makes it even more beautiful. I nod in agreement. It is truly mesmerizing, and I feel alive even if I am a bit afraid that we won`t find the right path and eventually arrive somewhere far away from where we started walking. We pull out our cellphones, and try to let the GPS point us in the wrong direction. After walking around in a circle and through some muddy waters, we finally find a path. And as if in a miracle, we come down not where we started, but a bit further to the right. As it happens, this is actually closer to where we had parked the car, and we sigh in relief. I tell her, that this was the best thing that could happen: We got lost, but found a new way that was actually better. She tells me it was a great trip. For her, mediation is walking.
It is noticing all the small details around her, and I agree. I have tried Yoga, but somehow it does not appeal to me. I like reading, I like walking and I like having time to think while also doing something else. Some people say that walking in the mountains and listening to music at the same time, is not really relaxing. But who can decide what is relaxation? People are different and have different needs. After the trip, I felt great. Like some part of me had awoken from a slumber. The fog did not confuse me. It reminded me that being lost means having a opportunity to find new paths. To arrive somewhere we could not imagine before we started. Being shrouded in mysteries, gives us perspective. By feeling confused, our brain have an unique opportunity to look at things a different way.
And we found our way. Just not in the way we imagined.
When I close my eyes, I hear them scream. I see them running, trying to save their lives. I can also see the 10 children who stood no chance and died.
The terrorism in France scared me. But not just that, it breaks my heart. The 22 of July Anders Behring breivik shot and killed innocent teenagers on Utøya. The tradgey is that there is no time to heal the traumas, since another act of terror triggers all who’s lost somebody to terrorist-attacks again. I can not imagine what the ones left behind must be feeling right now. But I can cry. Even if it doesn’t help them, I know the support the families and friends needs, will be provided. Because in even the most horrific situations, there will always be people ready to do all they can to support and help those left behind.
In Norway we tried so hard to not show hate, but love. We wanted to be strong together, and knew that the only thing we could do is to counterattack by the weapons we had available: Our empathy and love. After the terrorism in Norway, we started to volunteer more. We wanted to do something, we NEEDED to do something. To find meaning in the meaningless. And I do hope many in France will do the same. Because terrorism doesn’t occur in a vacuum. There is a reason that extremist become who they are. France is a hard country to live in for many refugees. They are lonely and desperate and easy targets for ISIS. So they find comfort in what they feel are the only alternative: A group that brainwashes them and provide companionship. Even if it’s hard for me, and others, to accept that people can do evil things, we must not sink to their level. Fear is dangerous and polarize society even more. We can’t think that the solution is to send all refugees home. We must work together to find solutions that bind people together.
Luckily, Norway has been blessed. We have a system that tries to integrate refugees into the society. We try to do something about problems before lonely and angry people goes to the step where violence feels like the only option. We are also blessed with millions who are able to respond with love in the worst circumstance. Because we truly do our best to take care of everyone. There are not many murders in Norway, compared to many other countries, but we do fail to prevent many tragedies too. We have no ‘perfect solution’ that will wipe away all the problems we have. But we try our best.
But before we can start solving our problems we must take time to grieve. Grieve over the ones who lost everything they had. The ones who will never see smile on their children`s face and hold them tight. Only then can we start to make changes, to make the world a better place. Because, even if there has been over 200 terrorist attacks the last year, there could have been more. we don’t need to go far back in time to see this: The Holcost killed so many that it’s unfathomableb. My wish is that we can answer the hate by not hating the people who don’t terrorize others, refugees and citizents who come to us in need. Because most of them mean no harm. At the same time we must protect ourselves, but I honestly believe that the best way to protect is to collaborate and find new solution that bring us closer together.