Wednesday, September 11, 2019

September 11, 2019

Today almost feels ordinary, and that's a good and bad thing. It means we aren't living in the shadow of fear that pervaded every breath after that horrible day eighteen years ago.  I remember flinching at the mere sound of a plane overhead.

  It also means we don't always stop to recognize that for some people, very vital components of their lives (husbands, wives, children, sweethearts, good friends), died. 

For me, the reminders of this day and that shared moment of witnessing death always comes as  a shock, both by its permanence, and by the irritating reality that the rest of the world just buzzes along, When someone aches, we should stop, we should stand or sit with them. We should recognize, these are souls deeply loved by someone, who we can't meet anymore.  So September 11th makes me think of the before and the after, and all the blessed afters that we got to celebrate that others did not.  Someone still aches.  Someone still stands there at that moment wondering why the world keeps spinning when so much went wrong. 

So  today, pray for peace, in our nation and abroad.  Pray for a soothing of all the wounds caused by time, by loss, and by violence, both by those who invented and carried out or supported the evil acts on September 11th, and by all of us subsequently in our attempts to either seek justice, or avenge, or revenge, or by all of us in ignoring the problems which festered until they became part of both what we accept and allow, and what others must endure. 

We've always been a kind nation, kinder than what makes the news, and a generous people, in addition to our faults of ambition, arrogance and yes, greed.   We are fallen but hopeful, we are a nation of dreamers, who often forget, we weren't always here, either in history, or in blessings.  I've seen people posting how much they miss the feeling of unity found on September the 12th, but to me, that's a call to action, not a lament.   We must be the community we long to become, and that's a day to day challenge of putting in the time, and allowing others to respond.   

To those who embrace one party or another, we can't stay stuck there if we want a better nation, a united country.  We must somehow find friends across the aisle, and things upon which we can mutually work together.   We can't be a city on a hill, if we sluff all problems under the collective carpet of forgetful history.  We can't be a beacon of hope to the world, if we allow ourselves to pretend, some people's suffering matters, and others' suffering does not.  We cannot be a free nation, if we spend all our energies condemning anyone who disagrees with us or always pretending, whatever the problem is, someone else is responsible.  We will not be a United States, to the extent we refuse to see our neighbor as something less than worthy.  We will not be a United States as long as we spend all of our time, viewing all things and all people and all actions through a political lens, which ascribes to all actions, machivellian motives at best.  We cannot be United when every action is judged as to whether we agree with the cynical manipulation of others or not. 

To be a United States, we will have to declare we are all unworthy and of infinite value.  We currently have things backwards, where we just see our own merit with greater weight, and the faults of our neighbors as justifiably condemned for all time.  Now is the time to offer, and to embrace mercy, most especially for those whom we think irredeemable, for that is the very essence of mercy, to offer love to hate, to offer forgiveness to wrongs, to offer peace and pardon to injury.  It does not mean the wrongs or the hates or the injuries didn't happen.  It is not to forget.  It is to forgive.   Not easy, not by a long shot, but oh, so necessary, and so much better than the alternative. 

The longing of many, for something better than what our politics and policies currently advocate, gives me hope.  Perhaps our country's people (if not our government)  which has always tried to pretend it doesn't have a past, can finally grow into something of its always proposed legacy.  Perhaps today, we can somehow look at our own history as a nation without reflexively self loathing or self agrandizing,  If we look our own faults in the face, and likewise work (with progress, though not perfection), to increase our virtues while minimizing the injuries done by those faults, we will come closer to being the Utopia we've never been. That is my hope, for this day, and for every day after.

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