I am careful what I watch. Being a dreamer, I learned the first time I ever watched a scary movie never to do it again. Images bleed over into my dreams, which are already more real than life. No need for any additional images to compete with what I deal with already. However, there is one time a year when I take the risk. It is on 9-11. I can only describe the sensation I have as a silence in my soul. It is different from grieving. It is more like an empty space. I have no explanation for this, I only know that I feel compelled to watch the coverage each year. To hear the stories yet again. I think it validates the unthinkable journey of the victims and their families. Somehow it acknowledges that which is important in life. I watch the buildings collapse year after year, and the chaos and panic that ensues. I think what a nightmare to think you have survived only to be hurled once again into a desperate, unfathomable nightmare from which it seems impossible to escape. To feel safe, then to find on the contrary, that all that you have been observing is now rushing towards you….like the angel of death over Egypt. It covers everything in gray dust and ashes. Suffocates and chokes life from anyone in its path. What stands out to me is that after the cloud passes, all is quiet. An eerie calm. One minute chaos, the next, silence. Those cameras inside debris field capture a surreal scene of snow-like calm. I would almost say peaceful…almost. But peaceful is not a word to be used at such times. Death is a shroud over the streets, cars, and bodies. Those who crawl out, look like they are nearly dead…ashen, shaken and eyes flowing with tears of fearful sorrow and toxic irritation.
September 11th was wrought with decisions that seemed inconsequential at the time they were made. Stop to get coffee. Drop off dry cleaning. Take a new route to work. The daily decisions we all make…the ones we think don’t matter…only they mattered on this day. They were life and death decisions. The fact that most did not know it at the time they were made is what unsettles us. It makes you think, what if my decisions today count more than I know? More than everyday life…what if they ARE my life or the lives of those around me? What it comes down to is that every decision is potentially a life or death one. The gaping silence inside of me on 9-11 each year is a reminder of that fact. Life and death issues are part of my daily routine. It’s not something I like to dwell on, and yet at this time of year, I remind myself what is important and what is not.
The panic is gone from that day. The grief and sadness are scars from the past. The silence of my soul today is reverence for the lives lost. Each one a masterpiece. Each one sacred to the creator. Each one valuable. The sense of loss is heavy, at the same time the sense of longing is palatable. Longing for a world where there is no worry about planes falling from the sky. Where peace is tangibly present. At this moment, it is not humanly possible because though we are created in his image, we do not live there. We live here in the imperfect world that has spiraled away from his original design. My hope is that even though I will never understand the whys of 9-11, I do know that God wept that day. His heart broke because of his love for his creation and mine broke as well.
September 11th we remember that every person is created in God’s image, which means we feel what he feels. We see the evil and hate in a sin-tainted world. It seems like life is crazy, and then life is stolen away making it even worse. His heart is broken, and so are ours. There is grief and a silent hole. This is not how he designed it. We were not meant to experience the chaos that sin brings with it. So I sit and remember. I watch and think about choosing life every day so if this is a day my choices matter there will be no regrets. Nothing left unsaid. Nothing unresolved. Living fully.