Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Truth about 9/11

No, this isn't a call to accept some alternative conspiracy theory.

This is about my truth and 9/11 which is simply this: it hasn't had a big enough impact on my life.

Five years ago, I was getting Colin ready for school and Marley was doing whatever 16 month old toddlers do around 7:00 in the morning when the phone rang. Paul had left for a road trip that morning. He loves to drive and when possible will take the car on a work trip. He had called to tell me to keep the television off because two planes had hit the World Trade Center and one hit the Pentagon. There was another plane missing. He wanted to make sure Colin didn't see the news.

I didn't know what to say. "This was all on purpose? Who did it?" Paul had no answers for me other than yes, it looked intentional. I got irritated at Paul because he didn't have any more information for me--he had told me all anyone knew at that time.

For the next few days, Colin was my primary concern. I kept the news off when he was at home. I carefully questioned him about what he was hearing at school. There were some outlandish things he was told by other kids so I did my best to counteract with as much truth as I thought a nine year old should hear.

The days went by and I experienced sympathy, tears, anxiety. I had no ties whatsoever with anyone affected by the attacks. As it became time for me to travel on a plane, I was prepared for the new rules and made allowances although I was frightened. I had never been a great flyer before 9/11 and now my nerves were definitely worse.

The "War on Terror" began. So far, I have no personal connection with anyone who has lost anyone in the war.

The television and feature films about United Flight 93 came and went. I didn't watch them. I have a hard time watching a tragedy when I already know the outcome, fiction or non-fiction. I wouldn't watch Braveheart because I heard how Mel Gibson's character died. How could I watch a true story about the last moments in the lives of these people? I don't have the stomach for it. When the trailers for the Oliver Stone World Trade Center movie came out my insides clenched as tight as any fist. I wouldn't see that movie either.

That's it. Throw in higher gas prices which I figure might be lower if the world events of the last five years hadn't happened and that's it. I know that I am not the same person. There is a pre-9/11 Mary and a post-9/11 Mary but I'm afraid that the distance between these two women is not what it should be.

Five years later, what can I do about that? I'm not sure. I will though, take time in the next few days to pray.

I will pray for the survivors and those in the military who are in the thick of it in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I will pray for the world we find ourselves in and for wisdom for those leaders who have the responsibility to act in this world.

I will pray for protection for all peoples from the radical factions of any race or religion who are doing Satan's work in this world.

I will pray for forgiveness for my unbending life and pray that the Lord might take my heart and mold it as he desires. In so doing, I will be the post-9/11 Mary that I should be.


Mom101 said...

I wouldn't see those movies either for what it's worth. You don't need to feel any more impacted than you are. It is what it is. But the world has changed in ways that impact you, even if you don't feel the changes in a small personal day to day way.

I'm glad you're praying to give our leaders wisdom. I think they need the help.

Thanks for the kind words on my post today.

V-Grrrl said...

My skepticism and cynicism are deeper. As I watch our lives and freedoms eroded bit by bit by the "War on Terrorism," I realize that you can't be totally safe and still be free, that in a democracy, you can't protect a citzens rights without sacrificing some of their safety. Where do we do draw the line? I'd like to believe all the changes in the Post 9/11 world are about protecting people but I often believe it's more about gaining a political advantage and justifying poor foreign policy by peddling fear. To me, that's the truth about 9/11--the fact that I trust no one in authority to tell me the truth.

Silent Spring said...

I choose not to join the bandwagon of 9-11 remembrances this year -- in the media and elsewhere. What I’d like to do instead is share a story from a friend of mine who lives in Saudi Arabia. We worked there together for years. Those of us Westerners working and living in the Middle East, and who knew and loved most of the Saudis we worked and lived with, were appalled when the American media immediately pointed the finger and made all Saudis out to be terrorists (just like many people abroad think all Americans are fat and lazy and rich). Shortly after 9-11, when international communities within Riyadh began to be targeted with car bombs and other terrorist type activity, she sent me the letter below. In this ever increasing violent world in which we live, it’s imperative that we stand up — no matter how difficult it becomes — and find a way to walk out of darkness.

Dear Friend. . .

We held a prayer vigil last night on our housing compound, and Hesham came forward to express his regret and his sorrow that individuals from his own country and religious background had done such horrific things in the name of religion. So many people were touched by his genuine outpouring of emotion that afterwards many came up to him (even those who had never met him), to hug him, shake his hand and thank him for his words. They also reassured him that they viewed recent happenings not as an Arab thing, or an American thing, or a Christian thing, or a Muslim thing, but as a tragedy to all humanity, in the wake of which we must all stand together as members of the same global community.

I believe that labels of any kind are a bad thing, and political, racial, cultural and religious branding can only breed hatred, fear and intolerance as members of each artificial, socially created group struggle to belong by excluding others. Patriotism may be thought of as a good thing; when it stirs people to hate others, it is a destructive thing. The time has surely come in the world when the old us against them mentality has to be set aside in favor of a single us, or we are certainly destined to continue to destroy each other in the name of whatever causes or ideologies keeps us from recognizing that we are all more alike than different.

This is a sad time. I am sending this out to all of you hoping that each of us can find a healing way out of our sadness - a way guided by the true positive power of our common humanity. Although it may seem impossible at times, the power of friendship and understanding can truly conquer those dark, negative forces whose only purpose is to rob us of our love for each other and to replace that love with mistrust, hatred and intolerance.

Healing does take time, but it will happen. I remind myself every day that being alive and on this earth is a privilege, and that it is up to me to ensure that I give as much love and understanding to others as I receive from others.

Peace be with you. . .

Mary-LUE said...

Thanks to all of you who read and/or commented on this post today. I just typed and deleted a comment that should be a post instead, although I don't know that I will ever rewrite and publish it.

One thought leads to another and another.

I will just end by again saying thank you for "listening" to me here.

Kristen said...

Mary, you say you don't feel like 9/11 affected you the way it should have, but clearly you have a lot of raw emotion associated with it (your reaction to movie previews, your guilt over what you feel is a lack of a significant enough effect on you) - and something as tragic and all-encompassing as 9/11 is very difficult to process. You're dealing with it, and you dealt with it, the way you need/ed to, which is all any of us have done. I hope you can feel more at peace about your place in all of this.

On a completely different note, yur new template looks great!