My Facebook and Instagram feeds were filled
this week with 9/11 words and images:
towers, flag, twisted steel, smoke and ash.
Stories – where they were –
Where were you? Do you remember?
Vignettes, thoughts, prayers, pledges:
We will not forget!
It is important – remembrance.
Oh, so important
to acknowledge what happened
and own the emotions the knowing stirs within us.
But remembering what happened that day
is only part of the equation.
Unless it prods us to examine our own lives,
circumstances, communities, and world
and spurs us to eliminate hate
in every form, in every place,
it is incomplete.
Honoring the sacrifice of those
who acted selflessly to help –
first responders, colleagues and co-workers, common citizens –
is appropriate and well-deserved
yet it is a much more fitting and powerful memorial
to follow their example –
to engage, ourselves, in selfless acts of compassion.
Remembrance is not passive.
If all we do is remember, without acting,
we have fallen short
of what true remembrance embodies.
While some chose, that day, to destroy
We have, every day, opportunity
to choose life, offer hope
to be instruments of peace
to bring light into dark corners
to speak words of love and grace
to pour ourselves out, humbly offering what is ours to give,
for the common good of all.
“Do this,” Jesus said,
on the night he washed feet, broke bread, poured wine,
and gave the new commandment to love one another
“in remembrance of me.”
Follow my example,
love one another, serve one another.
Don’t just think about it every now and then,
observe it once a year, or mention it in passing.
“Do this,” Jesus said, “in remembrance of me.”
Loss – whether intimate and personal or corporate and of the magnitude of 9/11 – alters every facet of our existence. It upends the rhythms of everyday life, strips us of our sense of safety and security, calls into question what we know, what is true, what we believe.
Absent everything that made life “normal”, nothing makes sense.
Part of the work of grief – and yes, it is work; some days it feels like more than a full-time job – is to find, make, create meaning out of the chaos, the rubble, the pain that is left.
The love we shared did not end with Bill’s last breath, but now, without his physical presence, I am constantly in search of new ways of living that love.
My personal task – making and finding meaning in the midst of loss – doing remembrance – is our corporate task as well in these post 9/11 days.
How will you “do this in remembrance” this day, Dear Reader? In what specific ways will you choose life and make meaning this day?
And who is it you’re remembering?