Let me preface this post by saying this: I do not judge how anyone chooses to mark this day. 9/11 is a horror that will live on in our hearts and minds for a long time to come. I do not judge if you are angry. We are free to mark this day and hold our memories as we choose and I feel compelled to share how I wish to mark it.
I read inspiring words from the Dalai Lama this morning that carry a message my sometimes-idealistic heart holds very dear.
“We need to learn from our painful memories of September 11th and become more aware of the destructive consequences that arise when we give in to feelings of hatred.”
We are not perfect beings. 9/11 brought out the best and worst in all of us. Flags flew, blood was donated, families held close to each other, churches were full but at the same time there were demands for revenge, for more death, for more hate. I think all of us had moments when each of these things were true. But if you had to pick one – one way to feel and live your life – which would it be? For me, it can’t be hate. Hate hurts too much. Hate prevents me from focusing on the things that are truly dear to me. Hate doesn’t leave me room to smile at people, help a stranger, snuggle a pet, to laugh with my family. I have no room for it in my life. Do I think justice should be served? Of course. Do I think justice and revenge are the same. Absolutely not.
I anguish for the losses and I honor the service men and women but I can not relive the horror through media coverage all day, all month. I fear for what it might do to me. I don’t want to live full of hate and fear. I want to believe that most people are good, even if our opinions and our beliefs are different. I want people to think that of me. Maybe it’s foolish to hope for that but I will. I will.