Thursday, September 8, 2011

Remembering September 11, 2001

   Is there anything I could write about September 11, 2001 that would be new? Fresh?  Never written or said before?   I don’t know.  However, I cannot allow the tenth anniversary of this historic and tragic day to pass without offering up some thoughts.  Think of this less as an essay and more as an invitation to dialogue…to share…to remember together.  For I am convinced that we must remember.  It is not only natural but necessary to try to make some kind of sense of these sense-less events. 
   This Sunday there will be a lot of flag waving and patriotism expressed.  I have no problem with that.  But we must do more.  True healing comes to individuals and nations when traumatic realities are faced, lessons are learned and resolve is set.   
   No one wants to go there.  No one wants to confront those memories again.  But the reality is that those images are already forever impressed upon us.  The pain will come.  The memories will come.  This is the great paradox of all grief.   No matter how hard we work to hide from or deny the hurt of our grief, the hurt is still there.   It will be better for us if we move toward the pain, by our own intention, than if it rises up and overwhelms us when we are unprepared for it.
   You can’t just get over the pain.  You can’t go around it. You can’t go under it. You have to go through it – the hurt, the anger, the helplessness; the fear….This is true for the person mourning the death of a spouse…or for a nation mourning the death of thousands. 
   Alan Wolfelt, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition, speaks of the importance of “dosing” ourselves.  We choose to set our intention to move toward the pain of our loss when we are strong and able to do so.  We engage the process of remembering and mourning, and we begin the process of letting go.  Then we step back away from the pain again.  In this way we allow ourselves the freedom to grieve in small doses. 
   September 11, 2011, the tenth anniversary of terrorist attacks on our nation, is an opportunity to dose ourselves in this way.  In this week prior to the anniversary I have watched some of the special programming on television, including one very touching show on “The Children of 9-11”.  I have intentionally set aside this time to remember.  In remembering I have felt again the horror of that day.  I have wept.  I believe I have also honored those who lost their lives in New York City, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001.  I have honored those who survived the attacks.  I have grown in compassion and respect for those who have gone on living even though their father, mother, beloved spouse, brother or sister or child died.  I have renewed respect for our national leaders at that time, sharing their horror and barely comprehending the weight of responsibility they carried on our behalf.
   Yes, it is good to remember.  If you are like me, you don’t remember Pearl Harbor.  You have only a vague impression of what it was like when JFK was shot.  But 9-11 is the day that changed our world and our lives forever.  9-11 is the day we learned how vulnerable we really are. It’s also the day that we learned how strong we really are.  If you are a person of faith, like I am, you remember also the promise--    
 "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written:
   “For your sake we face death all day long;
   we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
     No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,    neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)

Nothing can separate us from the love of God!    

   I remember 9-11.  I always will.  Yet, in the shadow of this dark day I affirm that Good is more powerful evil. Love overcomes hatred.   Life conquers death.  

   What is your 9-11 memory?  What is your affirmation of life post – 9-11?

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