Sunday, September 11, 2011


It is Sunday, but not just any Sunday. Today is the 10th Anniversary of 9/11. It was one of the most tragic days in the history of our country and I still remember it like it was yesterday. There was shock, disbelief and it literally took me a while to understand what was going on. I had just lost my husband a little over two months before. My mother had just had a lung removed and we were at of all places.....a nail salon. Mom was still in fragile stages of after surgery recovery.....but her nails were her focus. I sat in the car with my five (5) year old and my eight (8) month old listening to the radio. As they broke into my station with a Special Report....I listened as they said they had word that a plane had just hit one of the twin towers of the World Trade Center. It was surreal and unbelievable. I remember wondering how a plane could go so off course. Within minutes they reported yet another plane hitting the other tower. It was slowly sinking in that this was no off course plane and no accident. This was deliberate. I pulled my children close to me in that van and just listened. The disc jokey on my station was coming on between reports. He sounded shocked, bewildered and little scared.....all feelings I was feeling. All feelings our country was feeling. We were listening/watching something that we were helpless to stop. There was nothing we could do......but pray.

Shortly my fragile little mom came walking from the salon. Her face was more ashen than usual and her eyes were red with tears. As she got in the car she said, "Do you know what they have done to us? Did you hear?" The they was anyone with the audacity to strike this country in that way and us was our country. She had been watching the whole thing on the the salon TV inside and she looked as I felt.....devastated. We just sat there in the parking lot, looking at the kids, looking at each other and neither of us knowing how to proceed. The reports kept coming in of the destruction. The towers were burning and  starting to collapse. People were everywhere. The first responders were there but at this point....there was little that could be done. The damage was deliberately executed and our country was watching as terrorists had hit their marks.

As the day progressed and we learned of the Pentagon and victim numbers started to come in, for the first time in my adult life....I felt terror. I came from the end of the error where we still did air raid drills and my mom cautioned us about the Communists, bombings and the many and vast threats to our country. As I grew though....we were in peace time and those threats seem to fade. Communism became a word of the 1950's and 60's and bombings were things that happened in far off middle eastern countries that we just read about in books or heard about on the TV.  Fear of terrorism would not revisit my life until the 90's when Timothy McVey decided to bomb the
Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Even then though....although shocking, that was a home grown terrorist. He was someone angry with his own country. Why this made it easier or less fearful I am not sure, but to me it did. On 9/11 was as if all those early childhood fears I had of bombs being dropped and bad men (Communists) taking me from my family came flooding back. It felt as if there was no where to hide.

I know that everyone has their own memories of that day....and ten (10) years later, those fears are still very real. We know that as a country.....we have many enemies and there are plots right and left to destroy us. Thoughts of  "just how safe are we?" and "not if but when it happens again....will we be prepared?" often fill my mind and my heart. I feel great anger for those that took away my safety and my security and even more anger to those in my very country who don't feel the need for tighter security, tighter borders and a restriction on illegals and those with visa's into this country. I guess you could say that after 9/11 I turned into a very angry American.

Jump ahead to today and I am in Mass this morning. I arrived to find that my beloved Fr. Mike was not saying Mass today. Today.....we had the honor of the Bishop. I have been to many of his Masses and I love them. He is direct, too the point and he usually gives a good measure of humor to go along with the serious side of things. This morning he was not humorous. This morning he talked of forgiveness. He said that Jesus said we must forgive not just seven (7) times but 77 times. Meaning we must continue to forgive. Why? Because we can not ask of God for ourselves what we refuse to give others. Forgiveness. It sounds so simple.....but for many of is one of the hardest things to do. Especially if we feel that it is not deserved, not warranted or not really appreciated. Over the years I have had several cases where I have found it really difficult to forgive. In this last year though....I have been able to let go of most of those issues...yes,  forgive....and then move on. Currently, there is only one person that I am still keeping outside the forgiveness circle and with this person, it is not so much about forgiveness, for I believe I have forgiven......I just can't forget and allow the same thing to happen yet again. This whole forgiveness thing is a work in progress for me.

Now let us take it to a much larger scale. How do we forgive those who hate us as a country? How do we be Christlike and forgive those who don't even know us but would like to see us all tortured and killed? How do we forgive people with that much hate in their hearts? Can that be forgiven? I am so afraid if forgiveness is the test to obtain heaven.....I just might fail. I don't know how to forgive a faceless sect who wish my children dead, my family dead, my friends dead and my country dead. I don't know how to forgive those who spit in the face of my God and blaspheme his name, and try to take Him out of our schools, our Pledge of Allegiance, and ultimately out of our country. I don't know how to forgive those who seem to be hell bent on leaving my children and grand children with debt they can never come out from under and leaving so many of my family and friends jobless and in some cases.....ultimately homeless. How do I forgive politicians who lie, steal and cheat those who put their faith and trust in them? How do I forgive the disrespect of human life from the unborn clear up to the aged? How do I forgive destruction, waste and hate? Is it even possible? And then I remember the Bishops words this morning. We must forgive to be forgiven and God forgives matter what the sin, issue or crime. No matter how big or how small. All we have to do is ask.....and it is forgiven. Can my heart be that open? Can I be that kind? If I were a betting person.....I would say the odds are against it, but it is looking like I must try.

So I ask....if I forgive am I saying that I accept? And isn't acceptance of the unacceptable wrong? So perhaps there is a line here that I am not seeing. Maybe the fact is....there is a difference between forgiveness and acceptance. I guess you can forgive someones actions without allowing them the opportunity to do it again. Right? I am so spiritually confused this morning. Of course...where forgiveness is concerned....I have always been like a pit bull on crack. I have trouble letting go and moving on. But I do know that  a lack of forgiveness can lead to hate and hate is the most soul killing of emotions. So I guess I best get to finding some ways to forgive. Damn! is wishing you all a wonderful Sunday and hoping that while we each in our hearts may find our own ways to forgive, let us hope that we never forget this day, the survivors, the ones lost and all those who came to help. May God bless them all!


Anonymous said...

Forgiveness! Maybe something you should be asking for instead of acting as if you should be giving it!

J'nelle said...

Your blogger is doing weird things. I tried to post last night and the post came up as yours with someone elses name attached. I deleted it and then it said that you deleted it. I gave up after a couple of tries. Here goes again. I really like today's blog. I too have wondered about forgiving those who make you so mad and who you know will hurt you again. How can you forgive that? I don't know if this country can ever forgive what happened to it on 9/11? I am not sure it should. Does it send us all to hell? I really don't think so for I would think God Himself would take issue with 9/11.

J'nelle said...

Oh and btw, Anonymous STFU! You don't have to forgive me for that either!

Ben G. said...

Can't seem to sign in through my blogger so I guess I am going this route. Great blog and very poignant. Forgiveness is tricky because it is more about us than the person we are "trying" to forgive. We have no control over the person or actions that we see as needing forgiven, so basically we just have to let go of the ill will we feel. That in a nutshell is forgiveness. I have no control over terrorists or terrorism, but I forgive those (let go of my hatred) for those who have harmed me and my country. My hatred does not hurt them, only me. Their judgement is for God and God alone (won't they be surprised to find out He "really" does exist?). All I can do is clear myself of hate and move on. Great blog and keep up the good work.

Ben G.

Margarite said...

Don't confuse anger with the need to forgive. You can still forgive their ignorance regarding the sanctity of life but hate their actions. Our priest talked about righteous anger being linked with love and emancipation......not revenge. So you can be angry with their actions and yet hope that God shows them the way to love and true freedom that so that they can learn to respect others. It's in God's hands as far as punishment goes. In other words, I HATE what they did to us BUT I LOVE it that God will punish them in due time. Only with this attitude can I forgive their ignorance (and actions) regarding the sanctity of life and utilize my God-given freedom to be angry at the same time.