This weekend I had the privilege to travel to Ypres and Brussels for Jour de l'Armistice (Remembrance Day).
Ypres was more than an eye-opener. Now I've seen war, I've seen hatred, and I've seen pain. But I don't think I've ever connected with the reality of their existence in life before.
The most moving things I saw in Ypres were the stories printed on the Christmas cards sent from the front over 90 years ago...
How have we still managed not to learn to love?
After Ypres we headed to Brussels. Since Belgium only seems to believe in rain, we spent most of our time inside, at the national Art and History Museums. Luckily, we managed to score a great weekend to be there. The World Photography Exhibit was being displayed here.
Many of the pictures once again reminded me of all the hatred in our world and all the pain that exists. But the first place photos in the Arts and Entertainment category (the photographer, Kitra Cahana, was Canadian!) reminded me of something else: even though our world is rough, and we feel helpless, and we hate and cheat and lie and steal and kill, there is still joy.
That's one reason there have been so many armed conflicts since the war to end all wars. Because we have to protect our joys when they are threatened.
Do I agree with war? No. Do I want it to exist? No. But I understand that there are some times where talking no longer suffices as a way to work things out. I just have to pray that those times are few and far between.