Friday, September 10, 2010

A Lesson on the Eve of 9/11

We are all the same.

Have you ever had a day when you felt the warmth of another person sitting next to you and wondered about them? Did you wonder whether they were feeling your warmth? Did you wonder whether or not they loved their moms? Liked the color red? Thrilled at the first steamed windows of a cold-weather day? I have.

Have you ever walked the streets of your town and, in the course of whatever business you were carrying out, caught the eye of a stranger and smiled? Have you seen the same person in a crowded place more than once and wondered whether they noticed you as many times as you noticed them? I have.

Have you ever had moments, in any qualifiable way no different than the moment before or after, when you felt as blessed as a body could be? Or had same moments with the opposite flavor? When all seemed to fail and flounder? I have.

I've had days of heat and ardor, days of pure cool. I've spent time thoroughly spent and felt time fly away from me before I could grasp its intent. I've loved and hated. More the former, and most often I've regretted the latter. I've grown tired and worn and I've been uplifted.

I've made my mother proud and disappointed her deeply. Hopefully more of the first and less the other. I have worked so, so hard only to see something fall apart and I've barely tried and been successful beyond my wildest imagination. (Ongoing apologies to my high school mates who most suffered at this in my sophomore econ class.)

I've lived a full and rich life and I've not yet lived at all in some respects.

We are all the same.

Those who lost their lives on 9/11, and in the terrorist acts that preceded it, and in the life-wasting exercises since were just like me. They wore jeans that were too tight, squelched nervous stomachs on the first day of school, drank an icy cold glass of water on a hot day. Those who carried out those acts and all others also had days of soaking in sun, or hurt feet in too-tight shoes. We've all loved someone, lost someone, screwed something up.

We are all the same.

As we threaten to hurt one another, carry out acts of antagonization, or otherwise march toward the demise of our commonality we must return to this concept with great purpose and seriousness. We are all the same. When I injure you, I serve only my own chronic pain. When I heal you, I enrich my own peace and bring myself closer not just to you but to my true self. I am a real, breathing, living being, so much like you no matter my different choices.

Those lost on a path that meanders - sometimes races- away from this truth toward ugliness, fear and despair must not direct us away from our righteous end.

Find in me, as I find in you, all that we share and I know you will see. We are all the same.