The crisis of being human refuses to resolve itself. In this seemingly endless existence saga, it would appear that we will be stuck in the “Conflict” stretch of the high school English plot graph for a very long time. It feels sometimes like things must be getting worse, now that ISIS is onstage, and school shootings, and plane bombs. It feels like things are getting worse because those of us who have always felt mostly safe are feeling less safe, but I don’t think total safety has ever been a common human experience. I’m pretty sure that whatever the time period or the geographic location, the vast majority of humans who have appeared on these pages have felt vulnerable to something- the Romans or the plague or the young warriors from the next door tribe. Somehow total security was never a prerequisite for living, and vulnerability most of the time was a generally assumed state of affairs. Which feels like a great relief to me, because if I don’t have to worry so much about trying to feel safe , I’m a little freer to try for other things- kindness, say, or generosity or the patience to sing another lullaby. After the Paris shootings last week, Anne Lamott wrote that the thing to do in response wasn’t to join Vengeance World (or, I would add, Fear World), but to pick up litter, return library books, pass a coat on to someone on the street. I love this. The answer to fear is always love, the truth after tragedy is always to show up, weep, and bring casseroles. The heroes have never been the people living in perfect safety- Gandhi, Day, King, Jesus all lived in absolute vulnerability every day, but they brought love and sanity to the middle of the chaos, and, of course, this changed everything. Which will have to be hope and truth enough for now.