Monday, September 12, 2011

Grateful for so much-reflections on 9/11

Unexpectedly, I found myself riveted to the television screen for 6 hours as the commemoration ceremony in honor of the victims of 9/11 unfolded. My wife sat beside me and for most of the time, we stared at the images with tear-filled eyes. The ceremony was perhaps one of the most poignant and simple expressions of sadness and hope that could be presented to New York and to the world.
When considering the capacity for gratitude at this time, it becomes fairly obvious that all of us experience profound gratitude to those heroes of the police and fire departments who risked and lost their lives in the performance of their duty as the rescuers of others. Additionally, we are most grateful for the many average citizens who likewise stepped forward to help, sacrificing their time, effort and even health in the process.
What struck me most as I listened and watched family members recite the names of the victims and share brief, simple and often poetic personal expressions of love and loss, were the everyday, ordinary things and experiences that these loved ones now miss because of this tragedy.
A son expressed his sadness in not having a father to show him how to play baseball; another child was pained by not being able to hug her daddy; a brother indicated that a lost sister's meatloaf is something that is deeply yearned for; a wife would give anything just to see once again her husband's smile or deep blue eyes. Parents bemoaned the absence of their "baby,"desperately praying against all reality that they once again hear their child's voice, touch her cheek, kiss his lips.
SImple everyday things; these were the constituent parts of the fabric of life and love so painfully missed by the thousands of family members and friends. I don't think I heard one reference to success, wealth or celebrity-merely the emotional and spiritual substance of human life, a substance that we take for granted not realizing that it is the very stuff of our human existence.
What do we have to be grateful for?
I leave it up to you to figure out as we pay tribute to these fallen heroes and ordinary people-however painful and frightening the reliving of that traumatic moment was, I pray that through our tears we catch a clearer glimpse of the endless blessings bestowed upon all of us.

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