My heart crashes when I see pictures like this. September 11th finds tears in my eyes most of the day. These things bring me face to face with a day I don’t want to remember and cannot forget.
I saw the burning first tower as I drove to work that day. By the time I reached my office, both towers were on fire. Staff was panicking although we were miles away in the South Bronx and physically safe. Two young staffers were in Manhattan, but not right down town. It took both ten hours to get back to the Bronx.
As did many in my field, I worked long into the night doing what I could where I was to bring comfort to as many as I could. That was a gift. Any activity helps soften trauma’s grip; helping others is one of the best way to stay strong when the world about you is collapsing. I am grateful but would much have preferred to have my world stay as it was before the towers fell.
The fear and pain and horror went on for days, weeks, months, and now years later lives on in my heart. The closer we were to the real events, the greater the pain. One of my son’s friends was aboard the second plane. When we learned of his death the pain dug deeper for he was too young, too innocent, too good to be dead.
HAVE YOU RECOVERED?
Most of our nation has survived emotionally. The further removed from the city, the easier to pick up and go on as before. Like a minor wound that leaves a only a scar, 9/11 is a memory. These have fully recovered.
Of those more deeply wounded, some have “recovered.” Meaning memories of the event carry a bit of pain, but life goes on as before.
Many have had to move to a new normal, I am one. Trauma shatters beliefs that once sustained. Such shattering creates deep emotional pain. Part of recovery means picking through the pieces of those beliefs and finding new ones to sustain us. Life goes on, but not as before; moreover, although the pain is contained, its flames can return full force when memory stirs the ashes.
Like the man in the picture, many who lost loved ones or were at ground zero do not “recover.” The loss remains an open wound. These may go on, but with holes in their hearts that continuously flood them with sorrow, panic, and for some, hatred. Their lives are forever directed by the flames of 9/11.
Moreover, the Terror War goes on adding to the pain of those who have not fully recovered. The success of the 911 attack created hope in those who envied us and most sadly in those who want world domination and not democracy. That hope has unleashed the voices of hatred and fueled attempts to destroy us. Even here, many, once proud of what American stands for, spew condemnation. I am not a flag waver, but I believe with all my being in the idea of liberty and justice for all. I am not blind to my country’s weaknesses, but I am also not blind to her strengths.
Hatred has engulfed our world. The fall of the towers gave far too many permission to do the unthinkable. Bombings here, bombings there, revolutions, revolts, and even the occupy movement give too many permission to destroy. Then there are the random acts of violence where innocents are purposely killed. Think of the recent movie murders in Colorado.
So although it is denied, we are at war. The terror goes on across the world. I wonder when we the people will face another 9/11, meaning when there will be another direct hit on American soil. It will come; I am certain of that.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
First we must Remember What Matters. Not sure what matters? You might have different priorities. For most of us, family comes first. But our family is not safe when hatred rules the world. So when I think about what matters for my family, it has to go beyond family.
What matters most to me is bringing our world to a true and just peace for all. That is what I call The Mission. To me it is why we are here.
Too grandiose a mission? I agree. No one person can create peace. The most charismatic across the centuries ignited hearts. Buddha, Jesus, others before them preached kindness, bringing peace to this world. Many of us learned to turn the other cheek.
Reality check: The bullies and tyrants still rule too much of our world. These see our kindness and pacifist hearts as weaknesses. They will do what we cannot imagine doing to another; particulary when we turn the other cheek too often
Remembering that hard reality pushes me into the mire of despair. Being held down by despair strengthens those who seek to destroy me, so I do what I can.
This week of 9/11 Remembrance reminds me to double my efforts to live peace and to work for peace. I will pray to my God for peace. I ask you to pray to your God no matter what shape she takes. Have no God? Pray to the Force for peace. The more we all think peace, envision peace, meditate on peace, the better.
But prayers are not enough. Every time I see a soldier in uniform, I stop to say “Thank you.” I vote. I let my leaders know my thoughts and wishes. I give to a number of charities, not much, but I give.
I also listen to opposing points of view and challenge when I see hatred emerging. This has alienated me from some. Hopefully, it has made others more inclined to think about their words.
So I ask you to find something you can do, but to do something, and not just today, but as some prayers say, “Now and forever.”
The smallest effort plants the seeds that will “Give peace a chance.”
Sometimes my posts are a bit peppered with mis-spellings, oddly used words, weird punctuation. These stem from a lesser known learning disability called dysgraphia, but also from rushing. My apologies. Don’t read or check back in a day or so, as I usually catch most of the errors when I re-read. Also practice forgiveness is a useful Emotional Fitness Exercise, so forgive me, I do the best I can, we all do. Sometimes the best is not good enough, that is when forgiveness matters and forgiveness is yet another Emotional Fitness Training Exercise.