It’s 9/11….we rarely ever call it September 11th anymore, do we? For those of us who remember the day, we probably remember where we were and what we were doing at the time. I was coming home from the gym, turned on the radio, and Bob and Sheri (a syndicated radio show, for those not familiar) were just getting the initial details of the attack. Then attacks. I got home and turned on my TV and like so many others just kept watching. Until I saw the video of someone who had jumped out of the towers, trying to escape. I turned off my TV then. For several days. That image is still clear in my mind…..and while maybe it was important that I experience it with him, with our nation, I couldn’t bear it any more.
As it is with most disasters, people came together. Physically holding onto each other, friends and families and strangers, and emotionally wrapping arms around each other as we tried to figure out what we could do to help. To comfort. To fight for each other.
It was an odd time for me. At times very engaged, at times cocooning and not able to take any more of the outside world. Sometimes you can get too much reality.
It got to a point where I had to avoid certain friends, obsessed with discussing every detail. I just couldn’t. Talk about it long enough and I saw that man’s body, in flight….trying to escape the horror faster. I still can’t focus on it for long.
Anniversaries like these are a reminder from many to hug your loved ones close. I probably won’t give out extra hugs today. I hope hugs come from me regularly, both physically and just by the connection I share with those in my life. Sometimes the physical hug is needed….sometimes the words “I’m proud of you” or “You are so kind….thank you” or “What would I do without you?” are even more necessary.
I’m mostly dismayed that we haven’t stayed connected as a country after 9/11. People have very strong ideas of who is destroying our country, but I believe that we’re destroying ourselves. The level of cynicism that we spout will not take us to a place where we need to go. It flattens our people just as surely as those airplanes flattened those towers. The only difference is that instead of bringing us together, it destroys the very fabric of what we are and who we want to be.
As I sit here and think about today, the wisdom of St. Francis of Assisi came to mind. One quote attributed to him is “While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.”
Did you ever look across a room of chaos and notice the countenance of someone who refused to engage in the negative but instead was the calm in the storm? That.
That’s my prayer for our country today. That we will not only find peace, but that it will flow from each of our hearts and be the thing that connects us. That changes us. That sets us apart.