There are moments – days – when I sit not knowing what to say here. The words nine and eleven, when taken together, can conjure up only one thing for most, if not all, people in the United States. We were shaken to our core in 2001 with images of planes crashing into buildings and those buildings crumbling like structures in a bad movie. Messages of love on cell phones and lines of people waiting to give blood to the wounded showed us the other side of the tragedy. Remembrance of the outpouring of care for those most affected has helped assuage the grief of those days following the 9/11 attacks but it is like other days in our history that have left indelible scars in our hearts.
As I write this, Hurricane Irma is barreling through the state of Florida, continuing a path of destruction that has already devastated Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Islands. Following on unbelievable scenes of flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Texas and what is predicted for storms to come, people wonder if we are witnessing the end of the world as we have known it.
If asked, I would answer that perhaps this is the case and in the way that I perceive it, an end would be a good thing if it portends a new beginning founded on the kind of behaviors that are not the cause of but rather the response to hatred/prejudice and disaster. Think of those images of first responders on 9/11 or the reports this week of people like the man in Houston that opened his furniture store to 600 people as a refuge from the storm, or the donations that are pouring in from everywhere…In a new order, I would hope for the scales of good and evil tipped toward the good, such that all people would see the benefit and embrace the future in love.
Pollyanna, you call me? Perhaps, but this hope is founded in possibility. It must be believed to be achieved. Until such time as all people see the value of love as a guide for life, I will pray and hope and try to do my part to better the world. I am bolstered in my faith by the testimony of people who have come through disaster with their faith intact or stronger and by the words of Psalm 62 this morning, which calls for patient but constant effort toward peace of heart in the following words:
Alone my soul awaits you in the silence, Lord, for you alone are my whole hope and prayer. You only are my saving rock, a stronghold safe, unshaken sure, my safety, honor and my refuge firm. (vs. 6-8)