Thursday, September 9, 2021

It’s very easy for any of us to get caught up in our own memories of 9-11.  Then we hear or read a story that puts our own memories in perspective.  WNYC has been running a week-long series on how 9-11 transformed the NYPD and the Fire Department.  An iconic photo of that day reflects a comment from a survivor: “I was running down the steps and saw the firemen running up with hoses.” The cost was enormous: 343 firefighters died.  Add to that 60 police officers, 8 emergency technicians, and 4 officers.

How our memories pale in comparison to such loss.  We shudder at the thought. And then there is the memorial to the 37 from Middletown who died that day. A woman whose husband had died told me that fir the first few years it was important to go to New York for the commemoration ceremony, but she wanted so much to heal, to forget.

Healing is not “getting over” like one gets over a cold or even the flu. The process of healing involves internalizing the grief so that it becomes a part of your very being and then realizing that even in the depths of grief, you know you will survive. The pain doesn’t go away; it becomes transformed as it transforms you into a new creature.

Prayer for the Day

Move us, move us, beyond terrible memory, O God,

  And transform our lives so we can bear the pain;

Our souls are seared with images we want to forget,

   But you, O God, use them to mold us into new creatures.

Grant, O God, that we reflect the grace of your healing

   As we struggle with memories that burn within us.

In the name of him who shows the way to mercy,

   Even Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen.

Thoughts for the Day

No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.

            C.S. Lewis, British religious writer, from A Grief Observed (1898-1963)

Wounding and healing are not opposites. They're part of the same thing. It is our wounds that enable us to be compassionate with the wounds of others.

            Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D., medical reformer, writer

The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer,

  My God, my rock in whom I take refuge,

My shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

   I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,

So shall I be saved form my enemies.

            Psalm 18: 2-3