Monday, September 12, 2011

9/11 in Memory

Years ago people would say, "Do you remember where you were when John F. Kennedy was shot?" The violent loss of our president was a huge violation of the American people and we all remembered. I was tiny at the time but I still remember. I remember the gaunt look on all the adult faces in my sphere. Something unthinkable had happened and the loss was palpable. But no one said, "I was doing God's bidding."

Now people ask, Do you remember where you were when the twin towers came down. I remember. My husband was away on business and unable to get home, his flight canceled because of the attacks. I was stuck at home at a time when home felt very unsafe.

My world echoed the insanity of the attacks of that day as people I cared for deeply justified cruelty in the name of God. My life has been etched with the pain of my own 9/11. I felt like I had experiential empathy for the myriads of people affected by this ravishing.

I remember saying to those who served a god I do not know. "Look at the pain in your wake... is this authored by your god? Grace is soft. Not soft like letting you get away with anything. But soft like down comforter. My God doesn't let me get away with anything... but even in revealing my many faults He is gentle and kind and honoring of who I am. His people do not always follow suit.

The worst thing of all both in my 9/11 and America's is that God was given credit for the destruction. I want to give God credit for many things that happen that day. There are many stories of people who didn't make it to work on time. People who got down before the tower collapsed. People who lost their lives saving many more. People who kept a plane from reaching the capital. People who were just missed by debris, people who ... The loss was huge but the lack of loss was a miracle.

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