I can’t imagine the pain of the people who lost a bit of themselves that day, when a loved one ran up the stairs to try to help, or called to say good-bye from a plane. The pain is too large to get my arms around it. I can’t imagine what it was like seeing, smelling, hearing the attack. I wish no one could.
But now, the pain has spread and fanned out to the thousands of military families who have suffered losses from the wars that were my country’s response. And sadly, the thousands and thousands of innocent people who were just living their lives, raising their children, working, and dancing, getting through the days as we all do until their country held someone’s enemy and war came. And war stayed.
We regular people have grown used to knowing this, we’ve rebuilt our lives around this new normal, people call it Post 9/11. We’re a little more afraid of what could happen anywhere we go. We’re weary from a decade of war, but since we’ve not planted victory gardens, bought war bonds, rationed anything including greed or felt our privileged lives slip much at all maybe we’re only weary in theory. The real weary are the people who have given and given and given. And that is desperately sad.
I mourn for the people who were lost. I mourn for the brave who gave their lives or their futures, or who will always have an exit plan when they walk into any public place and who pray no car backfires. I mourn for the loss of trust we all feel; our leaders don’t always tell us the truth, our beloved country’s motives are suspect and we always look at our fellow passengers on a plane, not to know who to be afraid of, but to know who will help us stop an attacker.
And still, I try to hope. I hope that we can find a way to settle our differences, and that we can live with compassion, as one whole and holy people of the earth. But my Post 9/11 sensibility tells me that there’s little chance we can ever live in a world like that. Maybe we can at least make this true in small and quiet ways; in our own houses, where we are just living our lives, raising our children, working, dancing and getting through our days. Maybe there is another way.