This is part eleven of a thirty day trial, during which I am going to write and publish a post every day. No refunds. Comments welcome and encouraged!
So much of life shrinks, recedes, in the face of tragedy. Everything reduces down, to the essential.
I don’t know what’s essential, right now, on this day of remembrance.
Is it the sadness? Or is it the pain, that we must feel, no matter how uncomfortable — in order to continue, as best we can, to strive to create a better world?
A world where worse results, like patterns of sublimation, then perversion and tragic re-direction, are replaced by acceptance and compassion, so that we experience deeper healing instead of more violence?
Can we effect such change? Have we? Has enough time passed — will enough time ever have passed?
Fifteen years ago today, America changed. We were attacked, and horribly scarred. In the years since, we have reacted to this trauma with a mix of fury and grace. That’s not a judgment, just an observation.
But I wonder, often, about the link between this pain — and the additional pains that have followed.
I wonder why, in the wake of tragedy, many of those in power seemed more interested in seizing upon a moment of fear, to gain more power, than in estimating the full impact of what had happened to the country, and responding in kind to the true needs of the people.
I wonder why, in the years following, many more of our more powerful and influential citizens, pushed harder and harder to secure safety and control for themselves only, at the expense of their fellow citizens.
I wonder why so many of us, who enjoy considerably less power, spend more time squabbling, often in the service or to the benefit of those who have disproportionately seized so much of the aforementioned capital and control, than we do in real conversation with each other. I wonder why we don’t instead pursue more healing, more solutions.
At the same time that I wonder all these things, I find myself unable to blame anyone.
We were attacked. It’s normal for the pain and the sadness to linger. It’s understandable, that the resultant anger and confusion has led to more pain, more sadness — that the cycle has been perpetuated by re-traumatization and self-abuse.
We have been traumatized. Victimized. The rational, even years later, often justifiably appears inadequate to the task of easing our pain.
But time has continued to pass. It is part of the beauty of humanity, that we survive. We cope. We press on, despite the repercussions of evil acts, and the various forms of fallout from such acts.
I know that my view of this date has changed, over the past fifteen years. The tears and the rage have given way to quiet, respectful remembrance.
The scars from this day will likely continue to show for a very long time. It’s right, that they should.
Those of us who watched it happen, who were old enough at the time to absorb the sudden flash of pain, to feel the rise of fury and confusedness, we won’t ever forget what is signified by today’s date.
We’ll always remember how life was shrunk down that day, and set against such a looming dark background of tragedy and death. We’ll always remember the fallen. And the servants who rushed to our aid, and rescuing whoever and as much as they could. It is right to remember all this.
I wonder if we might also begin to remember what it was like before. Perhaps, for us, despite the healing and growth of the past fifteen years — life will never completely be the same.
But tomorrow is always ahead of us, isn’t it?
I wonder, if we continue to keep up the remembrance, and at the same time pursue greater healing, if younger generations might so be allowed to forget at least some of the significance of this day in history.
I don’t know if that’s even what I want, whether it would be “right” or “just”. But I do wonder about it.
Day 04: Circle Up and Laugh
Day 05: On The Future of Labor
Day 07: The Word for World is Earth