I watched the memorial presentation for the tragedy of 9/11. I can’t believe that 10 years have passed. No other day, no other moment, no other memory is as burned in my mind as September 11, 2001. Everyone has their own account of where they were and what they were doing when the planes began to crash. Many larger-than-life images instantaneously come to our minds without thinking. But, when I sift through the rubble in my mind of that day, I remember the fantastic acts of human spirit that manifested from those events. People began to reach out to help; help others they didn’t even know. Smiles and greetings that were never extended previously, became abundant. Conversations started among strangers. Estranged families found common ground. Couples contemplating divorce, re-evaluated their relationships. People came together that would otherwise not even acknowledge each other. Community came out of the chaos.
I heard a reading today that stood out as so poignant in marking this anniversary. It goes like this:
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve Human Kind. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of it all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceable with all. (Romans 12: 9-18).
As I watched the memorial of this tragedy 10 years later, I remembered what the human spirit is capable of. Even when we are hit with the most unbelievable horror, we can rise above. We are capable of great acts of goodness when faced with unspeakable evil. I look to these events as a metaphor of what we can expect from ourselves … and it is good.