Author's Note: At precisely 10:32am on the morning of September
11th, 2001, I turned on my television expecting to see the usual daily "stuff",
and watched in horror and disbelief at the events which were unfolding before
me, just miles from my home in northern New Jersey. On the TV screen, I saw an
image of a huge cloud of dust enveloping some city I couldn't identify, and the
caption said "Twin Towers collapsed". At first I thought it was a movie,
until I realized every TV station was showing the same thing, and then I
thought, "They must be talking about some OTHER Twin Towers because they can't
mean New York!" This is how I learned of the terrorism that hit our country,
head-on -- just ONE MINUTE after the second tower fell.
Like all of you
who saw it on TV or in person, I was stunned by what I was seeing, as more and
more news footage came in throughout the day. I watched, glued to my seat for
hours, as I learned of the attack on the
Pentagon, the grounding of all air traffic over U.S. airspace,
and the crash of
Flight 93 over a field in Pennsylvania. I could not comprehend
what could possibly be going through the minds of the people who planned and
executed these attacks on thousands of innocent people.
Later that long
and terrible day, I decided to write about what I felt, as I often do when I am
in emotional distress and trying to make sense of that which is senseless. The
following essay is what I created in an attempt to ease my own pain, describe
my strong emotions, and to offer some relief to my clients and e-zine readers.
This was originally published on September 11th, 2001 via my e-zine, Living
Boldly®. I am reprinting it here, along with a photo I took in 1990, in
rememberance of the thousands of people who were lost that day, and their loved
ones who are still struggling to come to terms with their losses. May we
never forget them.
the Global Heart
Tuesday, September 11, 2001, late evening in
suburban New Jersey
Today, I, like all of you and others around the
world, I am shocked and saddened by what has happened in our world today. I
live in northern New Jersey, about 40 miles outside of New York City. Living so
close to NY, everyone I know seems to either work in the city or know someone
who does. At the present time, I am grateful beyond words that of all the
friends and colleagues I've talked with today (and there have been many), all
the news has been good and most people seem to be accounted for.
Nevertheless, this has changed me forever, as I'm
sure it has changed you. No matter where you are in the world, whether or not
you are American, an act of such colossal hatred and calculated violence
touches each one of us. It makes us wonder if anything at all makes sense,
makes us question our faith, makes us question what we know to be true.
So tonight, as I sit at my computer with the news playing in the
background, I'd like to take a moment to share what I know to be true, even in
the face of this unimaginable death, pain, destruction and sadness. This is my
way of coming to terms with what seems impossible to comprehend, so I hope you
take this in the spirit in which it is given -- the spirit of love and healing.
I hope that each of you is able to find his or her own truth in these events.
I know this to be true:
... that everything DOES happen for a
reason, and there ARE no accidents - even when what's happening doesn't make
sense to our human minds, which always want to seek the "rational" answer. I
might not understand this, now or ever, but I can accept that there IS a good
reason and that God has things under control.
... that there is some
good in every human being - even when one approaches you in violence as an
... that for any person to commit such acts against his fellow
human beings, he must be in tremendous pain, for only a person in the worst
pain imaginable could believe that acts of violence and hatred can lead to
anything good and pure. And I know that these people are doing the best they
can with what they know, just as we all are, even though their "best" is what
we see before us today on the news.
... that I can still have faith
even when my faith is put to such a test. I can put my faith in the Universe,
and trust that everything that is happening is by design and is empirically
perfect - even when it feels anything BUT perfect.
... that the only
way another person can truly hurt me is if I lose my faith, lose my hope, lose
my sense of humor, lose my ability to forgive, lose my ability to love all
mankind. If I can keep these in the face of tragedy, I win.
... that I can have forgiveness in my heart for the people who would
commit such acts of violence and seek to kill people they have never met, even
while I could never condone or excuse their choice to commit these acts and
even while I believe that justice should be served. In being open to forgive
them, I begin to heal my own pain. In praying for my enemies, I am choosing the
path of love. In the face of love, fear cannot stand. So I choose
What I know to be true is -- if these events had not
occurred, I might not have had the opportunity to look at these truths, to take
them out for a "test drive" and to learn that they are the foundation of Who I
Am. I now have evidence that I can stand firmly on this foundation of Who I Am
and that these truths can sustain me.
And so I am, in the end, grateful
for this lesson, even while I grieve with the world for the terrible loss of
life; even while I deal with my own anger over the pain and suffering of the
injured and the families of the victims; even while I cry for children who have
lost their parents or parents who have lost their children, for anyone who has
lost someone they cared about today.
We live in a relative Universe,
which by definition means that we come to understand what a thing is by being
able to compare it to its opposite. We cannot know what Light is if we do not
know what Dark looks like. We cannot know what Sound is if we do not understand
Silence. We cannot truly know Love if we do not, at least once, have the
experience of what Hate looks like and feels like. Today, there is Darkness -
but there will soon be Light once again, and we can be grateful. Today, there
is Silence as we grieve and as we wait quietly for news - but soon enough we
will again know the pleasure of the Sound of laughter, of children, of birds,
of the wind in the trees, and this will bring us Peace. Today, we have seen
what Hate can do, and the world feels out of control. Now, let us strive in our
lives to be an expression of what LOVE looks like, and know that change starts
with each one of us.
Join me in a prayer tonight and in the days to
come as we work to heal what has happened...
Pray that the hearts of
those who would commit acts of violence will be opened to love, for only love
can heal a heart hardened by hate.
Pray that the hearts of those who
wait in fear for news of their loved ones will be granted peace through the
love we send them tonight and in the days to come, for only love can truly
bring peace in the face of fear.
Pray that the hearts of those who have
suffered such tremendous loss can be healed and comforted by love, for only
love can heal a wound of such depth.
Pray that the hearts of our
leaders in government, both here in the U.S. and around the world, will be
guided by love, for only love can provide the wisdom these men and women need
to help our nation and our world heal itself.
Pray that the hearts of
our citizens in the U.S. will be softened by love, not hardened by anger and
the need for revenge, for only love can help us honor the memories of those we
have lost and to seek justice in a way that will empower us, not cause further
pain and destruction.
On a day like this, it seems all those things we
think are such problems, such a big deal most of the time, shrink into nothing.
We are reminded, all too vividly, of what really matters. Tell someone you love
them. Hug your children. Play with your pets. Smile at a stranger on the
street. Express your gratitude for the abundance in your life.
hearts be opened. May our pain be healed. May our shock and anguish be softened
in time. May we remember to walk in love and peace, and to pass it on. And in
so doing, may we honor the victims. May their passing not be in vain. May it be
a wake-up call which all the world hears and heeds.
Peace be with you
and your loved ones. Let the healing begin.
Copyright © 2001 Lisa
Taylor Huff. May be forwarded or reprinted in its entirety, without
alterations, including this copyright statement, with written permission from
To obtain Reprint Permission
If you are
interested in reprinting this article in your publication or on your web site,
please contact me for permission.