Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11th

I read today that September 11th has been changed from a day of mourning to a day of service. Oh really? Call me a jerk (no really, it’s fine; you’re in good company) but I’m not interested in a National Day of Service. At least not on this particular day. I think we need to spend it thinking about what went down this day eight years ago. Talking about it. Praying about it. Remembering about it. And mourning too. I think that’s just fine.

I was thinking this morning about where I was on September 11, 2001. Michael Jr. was just beginning kindergarten and I was getting up that morning to help get him up and out. I remember being in my room when the phone rang and the surprise I felt when I heard my brother’s voice. Tom never called much so my first thought was “Uh oh”. But what he said was confusing. He was explaining to me that he was in Chicago and that he was fine. He wasn’t in New York City where he lived. No offense to him but so what? He realized I wasn’t aware of what had happened and asked me to sit down.

I remember hanging up the phone and turning on the TV. The images are still etched in my mind. Smoking buildings, screaming people, falling bodies. And the wait-and-see game of What’s Next? Was this a game changer? It had to be, right? Was there more to come? Would our lives be completely different after that day?

Immediately the focus became Safety. I remember the days with empty skies. I’d forgotten how used to airplane and helicopter traffic I was. Suddenly travel became a nightmare with new layers of bureaucracy in place to protect us. I wonder about how much protection we can hope for and at what cost? I’m a mom so Safety First is sort of embedded in my DNA but isn’t this country founded on principles of freedom and self-determination? There are so many governmental points of contact in our lives. It’s everywhere you look. I don’t know where the balance is and now I’m totally off topic. Maybe.

Thinking about that day brings up issues I have with personal preparedness. Welcome to my Shame Freedom Spiral. I get all panicky and freaked out when I think about what we would do if things sort of shut down. If we couldn’t rely on Business As Usual. We’ve got some water storage we need to clean out but do we have a good water purifier? I’m not sure. I’ll have to ask Michael. We’ve got lots of wheat, rice, and legumes but do we have enough? I should probably do some inventory checking. First aid? Some but not enough. Guns and ammo? My lips are sealed. Clothes? We’ve got Michael Jr.’s cast-offs for the younger kids but Michael and Sierra would be in a world of hurt if we couldn’t just run over to Target or the mall. I’ve got these cloth diapers I was going to pass on but then thought What If? Not for me but if something were to really go down, those would be pretty helpful to someone. So they’re back in the garage. How about seeds? Do I have enough for a 4 acre Crisis Garden? And how would I get my hands on 4 acres?

“But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” I Timothy 5:8

That’s not making me feel a heck of a lot better but none of this is about me. Just my responsibilities. I wonder where that balance is between living blindly an artificial existence, where I can only manage with a car, gasoline, the local power utility, and Wal-Mart and just becoming Amish. Like I could pull that off. Michael just reminded me that Amish Facebook means I would have to talk to actual faces.
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  1. I don't think preparedness is in conflict with a service. I will say that when my friend's seven-year-old died of cancer, I started having my head shaved around St. Patrick's Day to raise money for childhood cancer research. When my dad, a crusader for social justice, lost his battle with cancer at age 59, I decided to start a ministry at church dedicated to social justice. I assure you that those acts of service are very much a part of my grieving. I think a National Day of Service is a way to ensure that we are not terrorized by the villains who murdered thousands of people on 9/11 and later on 7/7. Put another way, it ensures that we don't let the terrorists win.

  2. I don't think preparedness is in conflict with service either. Just two different things on my mind. I think service is awesome so long as we remember. Your examples of service are connected directly to an otherwise very sad thing. I don't know what kind of services we would be performing that would have the same kind of connection to the day. There are probably lots of opportunities my weary mind can't conceive right now;).


So, what do you think?