May we remember.
Not the images.
Not the pain.
Not the fear.
Not the fire.
Not the tears.
Not the anger.
Not the unknown others.
Not the threats.
Not the repercussions.
Not, all the gods that ever were or are, NOT the endless war.
Lift our hearts to that moment of blue-sky September-perfect.
We were kind.
Close your eyes.
Those days were kind. We were gentle with each other.
My prayer of remembrance is for that kindness. Those days we regarded each other as the treasures we really are.
“You, friend. You, stranger. You are a blessing, you are a miracle, you are here.”
When I think of the sheer force of destruction that had to happen for us all to stop honking our horns at each other for a couple days, I want to weep.
What do we do?
We must each ask ourselves, how do we summon that feeling without that horrible force?
What would it take for our hearts to fill with kindness and wonder at all those around us without the alchemy of fear?
Close your eyes. Remember what it felt like to wake up, alive, on September 12.
Go forth and feel that way again.
Note: I wrote this last night as a draft. After sleeping on it, I realize that my perspective of those first few days after 9/11 is deeply influenced by my own privilege. My house of worship was not attacked. I was not looked at suspiciously because of my appearance or shunned because my name had its origin in Middle Eastern cultures. Too many of the “others” WERE our neighbors, but because of my privilege, that didn’t touch me, at least not in those first few days. Working two miles from the Pentagon, as I did at the time, my energy was focused almost entirely on gratitude that I, and my loved ones, were all safe. Still, while none of this invalidates this small prayer, this hope, I do want to acknowledge the fear in the hearts of far too many of my neighbors in those strange, sad, scary days.
I will add to the prayer, then – May we always be willing to look at others with kindness first and foremost.