On this day twenty years ago, I was speaking on the phone to a close friend living in lower Manhattan. The first plane had just hit a World Trade Center tower. While we talked, I watched the live stream of the smoking tower from a camera on the east side of Manhattan. He looked out on the same scene from the window facing west in his 7th floor loft. Together we witnessed the 2nd plane hitting the second tower, a jet engine exploding through. the side of the building, and unknown to me, the instant death of a friend in the building.
The feelings of loss and sadness were overwhelming me. It was more than I could understand or accept.
As I consider the day and all which followed, I struggle with a choice I had in the first moment. Do I look forward, celebrating the love and wonder which is always present or do I focus my energies on justice in all its forms?
It would be naïve to assume I have not considered justice or trying to do both. As black and white as the choice can seem to others, for me it has never been clear. How can love live and thrive if evil and hate are allowed to continue?
There is no judgement from me on anyone’s choice. The pain and senseless destruction are overwhelming! As I came to understand my calling, the lesson reminders which I consider in every situation of black versus white includes the following.
While the moment which is now is informed by the past, it does not need to be defined by it. Will I intentionally act with care, kindness, and love or is my intent justice and revenge?
This moment comes with a word choice – light, hope, and possibilities or darkness. Life calls me to the Psalms as “They talk about the glories of your [Divine] rule, they exclaim over your splendor,” (Psalm 145.11).
My life can tell the story of those who inspired us – to live with compassion, empathy, and unconditional acceptance.