Monday, September 11, 2006

I Grieve

I remember September 11, 2001. I remember how naively I began the day. I remember, having recently read the book Long Wandering Prayer, deciding to begin the habit of taking a morning walk in my new neighborhood. I remember picking up a hollowed-out walnut shell that had the natural markings of a peace sign, and I remember pocketing the walnut shell as a reminder of the tranquility of the morning. I remember deciding not to listen not to the radio on my morning commute, opting instead to listen to "Silly Love Songs" by Paul McCartney, which I had heard live recently and thought poignant. I remember the phone call from my bleary-voiced wife, who woke up to a DJ announcing that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. I remember my coworker interrupting our prayers for the victims to announce that the tower was collapsing. I remember clenching my fists.

I remember September 12, 2001. I remember searching for a way to surface the sense of bewilderment, mixed with rage, that I was feeling but couldn't articulate. I found it in a song by Shawn Colvin, "Cry Like an Angel," the lyrics of which remains on the wall of my office: "The streets of my town are not what they were. They are haloed in anger, bitter and hurt. . . . May we all find salvation in professions that heal."

The hollowed-out peace sign remains in my office as well. May God grant us peace, despite all our efforts to the contrary.

4 comments:

Craver VII said...

I find myself reflecting on the grim contrast between the peaceful, contemplative, and prayerful morning you were personally having and the horrific event that was unfolding at the very same time. I marvel at God's omnipresence, and how He is able to be involved in both places and not react harshly like we do. You know…you say hi to someone, and they bite your head off, then apologize, explaining that they’re having a bad day. It is a good thing that God is never controlled by or “under” the circumstances.

Pete Juvinall said...

I imagine things were a bit more edgy up your way eh? I was catching a show @ Schubas on my birthday (the 13th) and remember hearing a fighter jet fly overhead; it was the most surreal moment ever.

I think what was most beautiful was how upfront a lot of people were about their faith during those weeks following. We had an all campus prayer time that Tuesday night and after a ton of people joined the marching band out on our quad and sang patriotic songs; the thing though was that many of the students were really talking and witnessing to their fellow students with a genuine love for them...I'd never seen anything like it to that extent.

locutus est said...

I remember missing a flight. I was going to return to work after a week of vacation with my parents, and my dad barging into the room I was sleeping.

I remember looking at the clock (this was Mountain Time), and being a little annoyed that my sleep was being interrupted 20 minutes early. Then I remember feeling really selfish for being so petty.

Margaret Feinberg said...

I used to pray for peace, now I pray for for justice, I'm beginning to believe you cannot have one without the other.