I did not set out to leave the television off today. I just did not feel any eagerness to again watch the images that filled me with so much anguish a decade ago. Life was so different then. My small children were near me and as a mother I could not help but be concerned for their future. Now they are all adults living away from home. With just a few exceptions, most of my interaction with them is over the telephone. It was in one such conversation today that I realized my aversion to the television was no accident. It was not that I did not want to remember, but as a friend posted on Facebook today, “Remembering and reliving are [two] different things.” Although I do not fault anyone for having a desire to connect to their fellow citizens across this nation in a day of remembrance, I knew that for my particular personality, I could not relive these events. This afternoon, however, I found myself in a conversation with my daughter, JaNae.
At first the subject was discussed inquisitively in regards to whether or not there was any discussion of the 9/11 anniversary in each of our churches today. Of course, each question led to an answer, an insight, or a memory. I did not realize that my emotions would be so close to the surface so when my throat tightened up and the tears begin to well in my eyes, I was a bit surprised. In our conversation, I reflected upon a picture I had seen this week; one that I do not recall having seen before. It was a closeup picture of one of the towers focused on the floors just above those impacted by the plane. The people on these floors had gathered in groups at the windows. They were climbing on the ledges. Although the expressions on their faces are not visible, I could sense their desperation by the way they were crowding those window openings seconds before their death. It was in recounting this image to my daughter, that the tears first began to flow. How could anyone do such a thing to another human being?
We also discussed an article I had read this week about ‘the jumpers’. I was surprised to learn that for the most part this was a group which had been forgotten. People simply did not want to admit the reality that people chose to jump rather than go down with the building. Families who were told that one of their loved ones may have been among the jumpers refused to accept it because suicide was against their religion. To them it showed cowardice. How can anyone possibly believe that these jumpers committed suicide? Personally, I believe that they simply had a hope for survival. It may have been an irrational hope, but who among us would not be irrational at such a time. Nevertheless, to see an image of a person falling from such a height is greatly disturbing!
In discussing these two images, I, for a moment, did relive what to me was the most disturbing image of that day ten years ago. It was not of those gathered at the windows, nor was it the image of the jumpers. In fact, it was not even the horrific images of the collapsing towers or even the tear stained faces of those who were searching for loved ones. The image, after ten years, that I still cannot shake, is the image of little children celebrating such an evil act by dancing in the streets. How can any of us, God-fearing or otherwise, teach children to celebrate an event that would bring such extreme sorrow into the hearts of thousands upon thousands of fellow human beings?
Yes, it was a heart-wrenching period for the citizens of this nation! It was hardly bearable for the ordinary citizen of this country little lone those who paid such a personal price as losing the life of a loved one. It seemed to be a time when many people came to God, but many also turned away wondering how could He let such a terrible act happen. Certainly it can be a mystery for us mere mortals, but I can testify that during that time I felt God’s presence. I felt His compassion and understanding towards those left behind. He was and is aware of our aching, our confusion, our loss. To us, the loss of life was such a tragedy that day, but to Him, death is just bringing these souls back into His presence. The sorrow is only for those left behind; those of us who someday will also be brought back into His presence. Today my heart again remembers and feels great compassion for those who lost so much that day and for those whose lives have been lost in the wars since. Please remember today and everyday, not by reliving, but by reaching out in love to all those around us. There is no better way to honor those whose lives were lost because of hate than to flood the world with love. Everyday, let us all Remember!
In the meantime, Remember that 2 Plus 2 Doesn’t Always Equal 4 [And please take time to read my original post to understand Why the Title of this Blog? (Feb. 17, 2011)]