Tuesday, September 11, 2012

looking back

i've seen some posts on my facebook today about what people were doing on this date, eleven years ago...

i was at home with my two little ones (my second and third borns), watching sesame street.  my friend, maria, who has since died of cancer, called me because she knew i'd be watching sesame street.  (isn't it funny to look back and realize who knew you best, or who knew you intimately for different stretches of time?)  she knew i would not know about the plane that had hit the world trade center because i was watching sesame street, and that they wouldn't interrupt cookie monster with such news.  so i changed the channel to a regular network station (we had already given up cable by then), and together, maria and i watched the second plane hit the second tower.  we were so confused and stunned and confused and sad and confused and worried.  it was hard to process what was happening, what we were watching, that this was real, and what it meant.  my first born was at the catholic school at our parish...i called and the kids had gone to the church to say a rosary.  i still believe God listens to children's prayers  a little more closely than adult's prayers.  and we went on with our day.  in a kind of underwater, slow motion haze.  we watched a lot of news.  felt a lot of different things...some of those feelings made me want to climb in bed and never get up, some made me want to buy a ton of dehydrated food and hide my family away in some remote area, some made me want to pull my family out of life and just stay huddled together in our room, and some made me want to just ignore that anything had happened...pretend it was a tv show and fiction and didn't effect all of american life.  i remember how much maria struggled with it.  how depressed and anxious she got for awhile. 

up until then we had always been the good guys...so good we were above an actual attack.  the people we'd attacked in the past were the bad guys...that's why were were attacking them.  it sounds simplistic, but for me, i do believe this was my underlying understanding of america and being american.  the attacks of september 11, 2001 changed that understanding profoundly.  we are not the bad guys.  that's not how it changed my understanding.  but it made me understand, that unequivocally, we are the same.  we all have good and bad within us, and we all hurt when we are attacked.  we cry.  we bleed.  we die.  we search our souls.  we reach out to each other.  we blame.  we suffer.  we heal.  we remember.

i have great hope, great faith, that one day we will all do these things truly together and not separated by anything...not by land, not by race, not by gender, not by social or economic status, not by political affiliation, and not by pride.

one year, the gospel on september 11th was about loving your enemy...and the priest did not back down from the obvious implication of that being the gospel for that day of memory.  today the gospel is about jesus calling the disciples, choosing the twelve (even the one he knew would betray him), and them setting out to do their work...healing and curing and sharing the good news.  time to get to work.


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