Message after message asking if I was watching the news. Asking if I had seen what happened. Asking me to call right away.
I remember calling Jason and him telling me that there had been a series of planes that were hijacked and that two had flown into the World Trade Center in New York and one had crashed in Washington. We didn't know anything other than that. He came home for a minute to grab an old television that we had here and we embraced as he we talked about what this meant.
By the time I put the kids down for a nap and put on the news, a fourth plane had crashed in Pennsylvania and the towers had collapsed. I called my best friend to make sure that her husband who worked at the FBI center just south of here was okay. We talked about our kids and what this meant for them. We wondered why. We cried. We prayed.
It's hard for me today, nine years later, to understand hatred that motivates people to this kind of action. Why, when so many find that their religious beliefs call them to love others, that some find that their religious beliefs call for something so completely different. Why beliefs that, for many, increase awareness of the sanctity of life sometimes turn into beliefs that life is expendable. How beliefs that for many increase awareness of our dependence on one another become a wedge that separate us from one another in so stark a manner.
But if I'm really honest with myself, I do it too. No, not to that degree. I can't see a situation where I would intentionally cause the death of thousands of people. But I fear. I disregard. I separate. I even hate. And more often than I'd like to admit, I couch it in terms of my religious beliefs. I'll call it standing up for correct doctrine or confronting sin or any number of Christian phrases that essentially justify my own biases and hatreds.
Today, as I remember that day and the many days since, I want to recommit myself to choose compassion over indifference. To choose understanding over ignorance. To choose unity over division. To choose love over hate.
I invite you to join me.