I’m tempted to just sit here at the kitchen table, nurse my son to sleep, eat my can of fruit cocktail and not say anything about all this hullabaloo (bet you didn’t know I could do all of that at the same time, eh?). But I might just have something to say. Even though it feels like everything’s already been said. Here are some random thoughts:
Tim and I were talking last Sunday about our feelings one year later, and I was trying to put into words my feelings of disconnection from the whole thing. I guess it’s normal that the wound doesn’t feel as raw as it did a year ago, but it’s almost like I’ve just built up a cynical wall around it instead. It just seems much easier to carp on about how much the media is oversaturating everything with remembrances and tributes and memorials, etc., etc., etc. instead of peeling back the bandage to take a few test pokes at it.
One of the things we discussed was this woman named Lauren Manning, who was horribly burned at the World Trade Center one year ago. Her husband wrote a book called Love, Greg and Lauren that was filled with the emails he wrote to loved ones documenting her recovery. Surely, you’ve heard about these guys.
Anyway, I was commenting that I had absolutely no desire to read such a book because I couldn’t even imagine the pain and suffering of that family, and, frankly, I don’t want to. I mean, one year ago, they had a 10-month-old baby. The whole thing just hit too close to home.
Tim commented that he remembered seeing them on one of the morning shows and he was struck by how quickly the book was released. It seemed obvious to him that Lauren was in no condition to be discussing these things on television. Hell, she wasn’t even out of the hospital yet. Yet there they were, her husband schlepping his traumatized wife out for all to see and pity.
Of course, I have not read the book. I do not know those people. I have no idea what I’m talking about. But this book was just the first in a line of books about the tragedy. A couple of weeks ago, I spotted Let’s Roll a book by Lisa Beamer, wife of Todd “Let’s Roll”Â Beamer of Flight 93. The jaded cynic in me is scoffing like it’s going out of style!
So I went to the memorial service at our church tonight, trying to put these random feelings into some kind of order. Tim stayed home with Auggie. It was really nice and very tasteful. Not overly maudlin. And it helped address my feelings of disconsolation and confusion with some of the aftermath.
One of the things that I had a very hard time with last year (over than the overwhelming horror of it all), was the incredible anger that seemed to surge through the country in the days following the tragedy. This completely confounded me. Who were we supposed to be angry at exactly? The terrorists, I guess. Osama bin Laden, I guess, even though we weren’t sure that he was even involved at that point.
I just couldn’t understand how anyone could see past the grief and terror to anger. All I could think about that day was all the mothers who died, who would never be able to see their babies again and how much I hoped that nothing like that would ever happen to me or anyone I knew. The service tonight brought these feelings into stark relief, when at one point, we asked to be able to see past our own selfish feelings.
It reminded me of the time back in elementary school, when going to church with a friend, we were arguing about the devil in the backseat of her car. I was under the impression that being a Christian meant that you had to love everybody, including the devil. My friend’s mother crisply informed me that this was not the case.
That’s me, I guess. Wanting to love the devil so that he will change for the better.
That sounds stupid, doesn’t it?