Five Years On....
Except these: never forget. That doesn't just mean in terms of the images, anxiety, security precautions and the continuing daily geopolitical tumult, but in what those first moments felt like -- the shock, the punch to the gut, the humbling descent of realizing how everything which seemed so important and overpowering the night before suddenly wasn't and things we often didn't give enough shrift to reclaimed their rightful place at the fore, the knowledge awakened that the best and only response to sheer evil is to conquer it with pure good.
Never forget how, five years ago today, you held your kids tighter, renewed or established ties with people you least expected, took a long-inhibited leap of faith, finally put needless acrimony behind, reached out in ways you never imagined you could to help people you'd likely never see nor know. You can never lose by fighting hate with love.
"Why does it take an accident before the truth gets through to us?" a great poet once wrote. Whether that "accident" is a health scare, a tragedy close by, or a terrorist attack, to let that "truth" -- that our greatest strength can only come from within, from above and in leaning on, standing by and taking care of each other -- get away from us with time is to lose the precious gift which is ours to salvage from the rubble.
Already, in too many ways, this has been forgotten far too often, and we can't let it slip any further away. If anything, we need to reclaim it and reinforce it each day in a world already beset by too much suffering, division, anger, loneliness, despair, and the lack of love, all of which manifest themselves in painful ways around us day in and day out, whether in our souls, our communities, our world.
It's a tall order, but responsibility is an integral part of memory. And our first responsibility must be to pray -- for the many lost on this day, for their survivors who continue to bear its grief, for those charged with keeping us safe and, of course, for ourselves, that our lives may ever more resonate the peace and love we're called to profess and that, in doing so, we may become living stones in the building of a true culture of life.