Today is the 5th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks on our nation. When I allow my thoughts to settle too long on that day, I still feel as nauseous as I did the morning I sat on the end of the bed in my pajamas watching it all unfold like a Hollywood movie on morning television. Even after five years, there is still a certain degree of disbelief as though something so horrific couldn’t really have happened. It is one of two events in my life that is too great, too atrocious, too awful to fully absorb.
Across the nation today, newspapers will feature stirring tributes written for the victims. There will be public ceremonies and memorials marking the day. Politicians will give impassioned speeches. Somewhere a soldier wearing white gloves will hoist his shiny bugle and sorrowfully play Taps. The television will replay the footage of airplanes slicing through the magnificent towers and the confetti of life raining down into the streets of Manhattan on an endless loop while the newsreaders wear a practiced and appropriately grim expressions and pretend to be wise. But at the end of the day, after all the noise has faded with the sunlight, nothing will have changed. There will still be children without parents, widows without spouses and a nation that is bitterly divided. There really are no words to adequately honor those who were lost or soothe those who remain.
Some need to replay and review and analyze and intellectualize the events of the day – as though it can somehow be made to make sense. For others, the public tributes and ceremonies will provide a measure of comfort. Each must mark this day in one’s own way. As for me, I will turn away and turn inward to the still quiet spaces in my heart where I will renew the vow I made on September 11, 2001 to live in the moment and to love those around me more freely, more fiercely and more deeply.
What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.~ James 4:14