Monday, September 10, 2012

...9/11, a day of remembrance


St. Paul's, behind the World Trade Center site
Photo by Frank Sauer
September 9, 2012


Leaves now cover the ground that ashes once cloaked. Eleven years have passed since the day we all fell down. Many still grieve the loss of loved ones, the death of dreams. Wherever you are, close your eyes and hear Charles Van Gorkom's words. Let them take root and live them into understanding.

You are a saint.
By this I mean you are.
Fully realized.
There is a king in you and a kingdom,
A Golgotha of broken dreams,
A Calvary of great love,
An empty tomb.


For several years I've marked the anniversary of 9/11 with a reading of Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat's poem, "Rest in Peace" inspired by the poems of Thich Nhat Hanh:


I am a World Trade Center tower, standing tall in the clear blue sky, feeling a violent blow in my side,
and
I am a towering inferno of pain and suffering imploding upon myself and collapsing to the ground.
May I rest in peace.

I am a terrified passenger on a hijacked airplane not knowing where we are going or that I am riding on fuel tanks that will be instruments of death,
and
I am a worker arriving at my office not knowing that in just a moment my future will be obliterated.
May I rest in peace.

I am a pigeon in the plaza between the two towers eating crumbs from someone's breakfast when fire rains down on me from the skies,
and
I am a bed of flowers admired daily by thousands of tourists but now lie buried under five stories of rubble.
May I rest in peace.

I am a firefighter sent into dark corridors of smoke and debris on a mission of mercy only to have it collapse around me,
and
I am a rescue worker risking my life to safe lives who is very aware that I may not make it out alive.
May I rest in peace.

I am a survivor who has fled down the stairs and out of the building to safety who knows that nothing will ever be the same in my soul again,
and
I am a doctor in a hospital treating patients burned from head to toe who knows that these horrible images will remain in my mind forever.
May I know peace.

I am a piece of paper that was on someone's desk this morning and now I'm debris scattered by the wind across lower Manhattan,
and
I am a stone in the graveyard at Trinity Church covered with the soot from the buildings that once stood proudly above me, death meeting death.
May I rest in peace.

I am a dog sniffing in the rubble for signs of life, doing my best to be of service,
and
I am a blood donor waiting in line to make a simple but very needed contribution for the victims.
May I know peace.

I am a resident in an apartment in downtown New York who has been forced to evacuate my home,
and
I am a resident in an apartment uptown who has walked 100 blocks home in a stream of other refugees.
May I know peace.

I am a family member who has just learned that someone I love has died,
and
I am a pastor who must comfort someone who has suffered a heart-breaking loss.
May I know peace.

I am a loyal American who feels violated and vows to stand behind any military action it takes to wipe terrorists off the face of the earth,
and
I am a loyal American who feels violated and worries that people who look and sound like me are all going to be blamed for this tragedy.
May I know peace.

I am a frightened city dweller who wonders whether I'll ever feel safe in a skyscraper again,
and
I am a pilot who wonders whether there will ever be a way to make the skies truly safe.
May I know peace.

I am the owner of a small store with five employees that has been put out of business by this tragedy,
and
I am an executive in multinational corporation who is concerned about the cost of doing business in a terrorized world.
May I know peace.

I am a visitor to New York City who purchases postcards of the World Trade Center Twin Towers that are no more,
and
I am a television reporter trying to put into words the terrible things I have seen.
May I know peace.

I am a boy in New Jersey waiting for a father who will never come home,
and
I am a boy in a faraway country rejoicing in the streets of my village because someone has hurt the hated Americans.
May I know peace.

I am a general talking into the microphones about how we must stop the terrorist cowards who have perpetrated this heinous crime,
and
I am an intelligence officer trying to discern how such a thing could have happened on American soil,
and I am a city official trying to find ways to alleviate the suffering of my people.
May I know peace.

I am a terrorist whose hatred for America knows no limit and I am willing to die to prove it,
and
I am a terrorist sympathizer with all the enemies of American capitalism and imperialism,
and
I am a master strategist for a terrorist group who planned this abomination.
My heart is not yet capable of openness, tolerance, and loving.
May I know peace.

I am a citizen of the world glued to my television set, fighting back my rage and despair at these horrible events,
and
I am a person of faith struggling to forgive the unforgivable, prayng for the consolaton of those who have lost loved ones, calling upon the merciful beneficence of God/Lord/Allah/Spirit/High Power.
May I know peace.

I am a child of God who believes that we are all children of God and we are all part of one another.
May we all know peace.

Frederic and Mary Ann Brusset are the Co-Directors of Spirituality and Practice www.SpiritualityandPractice.com.  
Residents of Manhattan, they wrote this prayer/poem 
on the afternoon of September 11, 2001.



At some point, we all fall down. 
May those who are standing lift those who are not.


The New York City skyline today
Photo by Frank Sauer
Jersey City, NJ
September 9, 2012



2 comments:

BrightSoul said...

Thank you for that wonderful tribute. From a new morning beginning in the Far North area of Canada we saw and couldn't believe What we saw on that lovely Fall day...my great grandmothers' birthday, memorialized forever in infamy.
God, do bless America and "crown her good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea"...

Celeste said...

That morning my husband was flying from Birmingham to Charlotte. At 6:25 a.m. he called to say that his flight aborted on take-off, halfway down the runway. I joined him at the airport while he waited for his next flight. I had an appointment to begin hospice for my mom three hours later. We watched the second plane hit the Tower as we walked down the jetway together (never allowed again after that morning. My brother-in-law was an American Airlines pilot who was flying the L.A/Boston/L.A. route. It was hours before we would know about his flight, where he was. His son was a Navy pilot who flew cover over D.C. and New York. Siblings of three of my Birmingham News associates were in harm's way: two at the Pentagon, one on the top floor of the North Tower. One died in the Pentagon, the other lived. We all assumed the worst about the Trade Center brother. Eighteen hours later he would call. When he arrived at work, he was sent downstairs to meet a client for breakfast. The only survivor of that firm. Six degrees of separation were a luxury we didn't have that day. My mom died three days later. John would die nine months after 9/11. Exactly one year after that awful September morning, the front of our house collapsed in a storm. Insurance would decline to cover. Many people suffered much more that year but, for me. all of those events are forever intertwined. I thought I knew what grace was...but I was really clueless. That year brought me to my knees. No, prostrate. Thank you for your words. I want to write a post one day soon about the relationships that develop across the ether. Another layer of richness. And, as for those six degrees of separation: I prefer cozy.