Today is the anniversary of my first blog post, Sept. 11, 2006. My son, now in college, was a freshman in high school. I reflected on a discussion we had when he came home for lunch with a group of boys.What did they remember of that day five years earlier?
Here I am six years later – and so much has changed.
In the Eucharist this morning and our prayers for remembering, healing, anointing, we reflected on the many ways all of our lives have been changed by the events of this day eleven years ago. For me, it was the beginning of a decade of financial decline. First the company that had employed my husband for 20 years, folded in the spring of 2002 – an indirect result of 9/11 and people and companies not spending money on computer systems and upgrades. He had remade himself, found a new profession, but as a fifty year old man that took awhile.
We no longer live in the same town or state that we lived in when 9/11 happened. The community we now live in is 41% Muslim. Women all over town wear hijabs (head scarfs). These can be as casual as a scarf tossed around her head to the full attire that shows only her eyes. Many Muslim women wear jeans and long sleeve shirts and a head scarf. It is a daily reminder that we live in a diverse community. It’s really very awesome. Much work is done in schools and churches and within the community to ensure that we are community that gets along, respects one another, and works together.
I started this morning with a group of 20 other religious people – mostly Christian or Muslim, a Baha’i, the mayor of Dearborn, and some community activists. We were invited to have breakfast at the Islamic Center of America and talk about the Dearborn Area Ministerial Association – a group of clergy-type people who have been meeting for over a decade. We had a delicious breakfast of plain yogurt, pita bread, tomatoes, cucumber, a fava bean dish – Ful Medames, an egg and sausage-like cassarole, fresh fruit, and some sweets. A delicious, healthy breakfast, albeit different from the typical American breakfast.
We shared stories, renewed friendships, talked about upcoming events we’re hosting at our various locations. The mayor spoke about the upcoming visit of Terry Jones, his third visit to Dearborn in three years. His first visit spurred a strong reaction and caused a national media flurry – Jones wanted to burn a Q’ran. The mayor said that Jone’s and those like him apply this rational: They deny that Mohammed was a prophet. Therefore because (in their estimation) Mohammed was not a prophet then Muslim is not a religion and so the first amendment protection does not apply….there is some other weird paranoid-like thinking that then goes on from this rational, but I don’t remember what it is. Anyway, back he comes. And we’ll to our part to be ready for him and hope the media once again ignores him.
I’ve been thinking about the many ways my life has changed over these eleven years. That day forever changed the course of my life even though no one I know personally died in that tragedy. Still my life is changed.
Today we gathered, a wonderful prayerful group of interfaith leaders. We had a meal (that was surely Eucharistic), we shared stories, renewed friendships, recommitted ourselves to one another. Later, back at the church we asked for forgiveness for our sins, anointed heads with sacred oil, and prayed prayers for healing. We remembered Constance and her companions who battled another tragedy, the Yellow Fever epidemic in the late 1800’s, there too 5000 people died.
And so here I sit. A gentle breeze blowing, the sun shining, a glorious day. A day that holds much tragedy and yet a day where hope prevails. A day when, with the love and mercy of God, dust and death is transformed into life and grace.