Saturday, September 10, 2011

Beyond 9/11

The 10th anniversary of the tragedies of 9/11. On a Sunday. A friend asked me if I would preach about 9/11. Why? I asked him. Why re-live the horror of that crisp and clear fall day, why rehase the squandered opportunity to change the world when everyone on this planet was with us, but instead we turned it into a war on an enemy that could never be seen, leaving the devastation of two countries, millions of lives and trillions of dollars in its wake. Why re-visit a horror that has left a culture of fear, and distrust, not to mention the political theatre of the TSA. Why?

We remember this tragic day in passing so that we can first eulogize the fallen, internationals all. I thought it no small irony that the funding for the twin beams of light that shine up from ground zero in NY will go dark tomorrow from lack of funding. Perhaps it is time we buried the horror and came to account for what we have before us now. Beyond 9/11. Right now. I run the risk of course of sounding political here, and I am, a bit. But what we all need to do, our president leading us, is to lean into our reality, not keeping pushing it back like it wasn’t our fault. What did the psalmist say, all is forgiven but many are responsible?

There are conditions to finding happiness: The first is to determine what matters most to you, whom or what do you ultimately serve. Serve that before yourself. The second is to learn optimism, especially in the face of adversity. Most of my children are under if not unemployed, all of them are working hard to make ends meet, and still we laugh. Finally, adopt an attitude of gratitude. Realize that only by being thankful for what is right can we face what is wrong in our lives.

And yet, ultimately we have to face what is wrong. I contend that we have the same potential for happiness today as we had on Sept. 10, 2001. The potential to find happiness hasn’t changed, it’s just harder to realize. And perhaps that realization will be all the more powerful if we can find it in the face of tragedy.

With Grace and Grit,  John