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.