Where We Were
Most of us remember exactly where we were when it happened. We remember exactly what we were doing. Though seventeen years have passed, most of us can feel it like its was yesterday, or even today. The faces around the rooms where we were. The images on the television. The inexplicable feelings of loss and powerlessness that come from unexpected tragedy. All of these were part of a shared understanding of a real and powerful grief. The impact on this country and the world was deeply felt. But the impact on individual lives was also profound.
I know people who joined up with the armed forces right away. One friend I know, a Unitarian Universalist Minister, joined the Chaplain Corps of the Army. She did numerous tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as a Chaplain. She still remembers the power of her call being all the louder in the space that was created by the events of that day. And so it is like this that so many of us remember. So it is that we remember so fully, so completely, what happened that day. And from that day forward many of our lives were different. Not because a set of wars ensued that altered the course of so many lives. Not because a false veneer of impenetrability crumbled that morning. But because so many people made decisions following that day that would define the course of the rest of their lives.
One of my childhood friends had broken up with his girlfriend whom he’d met in another country that summer. But following that morning, they reconciled, and he traveled to live abroad with her until they both moved to this country together. They worked it out somehow. And now she is a citizen of this nation and sets one of the finest examples of engaged, intelligent, and meaningful citizenship any person could hope to witness, working as she does with organizations that find safe, loving, adoptive homes for children.
Over the weekend following the attacks, houses of worship were overflowing. Somehow people were seeking a way to make some sort of sense of the attacks. Or maybe they were only seeking comfort in a safe place. The faiths many held in parts of their lives were strengthened. I suspect some faiths made of more fragile stuff were lost that day. And though I can’t approach understanding and though I strain at forgiveness, I do know that reconciliation and a love that conquered space and time won the day, won the hearts of some of my friends.
Wars rage on in streets afar. Wars rage, too, in hearts too near. From a once fragile faith growing stronger everyday I glimpse a world healed in reconciliation and a world finding a brand new home in love. The inexpressible is finding voice. The unknowable is coming into greater focus. The story of where we were then is becoming with every passing day the story of where we are now.
And may it ever be so.
Rev. T. J.