Like it Was Yesterday

 

(Three years ago, I submitted this post in remembrance of the events of 9/11. Today, I offer it again, updated, on the 18th anniversary of the day that changed us forever. Never forget…)

 

Eighteen years ago…
The brilliant cerulean skies over Manhattan
Suddenly, shockingly were interrupted
By the smoke from a misguided burnt offering,
Offered by impassioned false prophets
To a Prophet they never really knew.

Eighteen years ago…
A throng of innocent, ordinary faces
Stared in utter horror and disbelief
At the face of death, approaching them swiftly
In the guise of a great, winged demon,
Its once perfectly resplendent skin
Now engulfed in the flames of Hell,
The air redolent of burning flesh and jet fuel.

And then – this time, before a captive audience – it happened again.

Eighteen years ago…
Desperate, hopeless, sorrowful voices
Left tearful, heartfelt goodbyes
On cold and sterile answering machines
For the ones they would leave behind
To play back again, and again, and again,
Frozen in their grief, their loneliness, their rage,
With merely a voice to hold through the long, sleepless night.

Eighteen years ago…
Knights in shining armor ascended,
Disappearing into the smoky blackness,
Staring down fear, resolute in their mission
To rescue those who were helpless,
Only to become helpless, themselves
As the once proud and mighty towers
Crumbled spectacularly to the ground,
And we witnessed the Baptism of Dust.

Eighteen years ago…
Another winged demon crashed into a Pentagon,
And still another into a pastoral Pennsylvanian field,
And we all shook our heads in shock and bewilderment and terror,
As we helplessly watched what we believed
To surely be the beginning of The End.

Eighteen years ago…
I saw grown men weeping openly:
Television news anchors, stoic and detached,
Now utterly flattened by the sheer relentlessness
Of report after stupefying report
And image upon horrible, graphic image;
Police and firefighters, hearts irreparably shattered
By the overwhelming number of fallen comrades
Who sacrificed everything in upholding
Their sworn, sacred duty;
Business executives who lost scores of dedicated employees,
Just ordinary people, going about their ordinary work,
Gone, all gone;
Office workers, pained with guilt
Over deciding not to go to work that day,
And resolved to earn every subsequent day of life given to them.

Eighteen years ago…
I heard “The Star-Spangled Banner”
Played, of all places,
In front of England’s Buckingham Palace
At the ceremonial Changing of the Guard,
In a remarkably touching display of sympathy and solidarity.
I heard Congressmen, gathered on the Capitol steps
Performing an impromptu, earnest and defiant rendition
Of “God Bless America”…

And I felt the embrace of the world.

Eighteen years ago…
So many other things happened that September day;
So many acts of courage, of strength,
Of sacrifice, of compassion.
Of Love.

And eighteen years later, I remember it all,
Just like…

 

 

A Month to Save a Life

 

September is National Suicide Prevention Month in America.

Two years ago this month, I wrote a series of posts on this topic, “A Ray of Light”, Parts 1-4. I invite you to read them if this is something that concerns you or someone you know. I shared information about the signs a person may be suicidal, what to do for someone who is, and who to contact for help.

This means something to me. I myself have had suicidal thoughts in the past, and came close to doing it once, and I lost an uncle to it many years ago.

It still registers as a national health crisis, as often as it occurs, and it’s getting worse. The statistics bear that out.

And I have to ask, why is that so? Where are we failing these people?

Is word not getting out that help is available? Is suicide still too uncomfortable a subject to mention in public?

Well, how comfortable are we with all these people killing themselves?

Folks, we have to talk about this more. We need to be perceptive around our friends and family. We need to not be ashamed to ask for help. We need to not hesitate to ask to help.

During this month that focuses on suicide, let’s all make it our focus. It’s extremely important. We’ve got to get a handle on this. Way too many precious lives are needlessly lost every year, every day. We can put an end to it.

Life can really suck sometimes, I know. But let’s all face it together. None of us has to alone. Please, reach out for help. Don’t give up.

 

I almost gave up 33 years ago. I’m glad it didn’t happen.

Wotta Night

 

One of my favorite blogs to read is called Stuff That Needs to Be Said, by John Pavlovitz. Much of the stuff he says does, I agree, need to be said.

And sometimes, it just needs to be said to me.

For example:

Last night, I had a terrible time trying to get to sleep because, as I lay in bed, I became overcome with a feeling of utter hopelessness over the future of America, if not the world. (It started as hopelessness over me, and quickly grew from there. That’s how my mind works.)

I just was overwhelmed with the feeling of what’s the use? Why even try to do any good in the world? We’re standing in front of a rising tidal wave of evil.

So today, I found this post by John Pavlovitz I recalled reading last April, called, “Here’s Why You Can’t Lose Hope.”

Really. That’s the title. I thought it would be a good time to read it again.

You see? Stuff that needed to be said to me.  Stuff I needed to hear. And I’ll probably need to hear it several more times.

If you think that stuff needs to be said to you, too, read it here

On second thought, forget the probably. I know I’ll need to hear it more times. Hope fades quickly these days; the fight is long and continuous and unrelenting.

But, so many have fought before us, we can’t erase their legacy by surrendering.

No matter how much sleep I may lose over it.

 

 

I will not!

When one of my fellow bloggers says something better than I could, it’s my pleasure to share it with you. My friend Larry Paul Brown says it this time.

QUEST

“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places.  But those that will not break it kills.  It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially.  If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.” ERNEST HEMINGWAY

broken heartedThe very good and the very gentle and the very brave – let’s focus on those words.  The world system seems to despise those who have a moral compass, those who are peacemakers, those who have the courage to march to a different drummer.  Governments, religions, and financial systems do not honor a man/woman who answers their demands with “no, I will not live that way.”

We are labeled ‘unpatriotic’ if we do not toe the current disgrace posing as a legitimate government.  When we kneel in obeisance to compassion and…

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