Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Twelve years

Today a lot of people are remembering what happened twelve years ago.  Remembering where they were, who they knew and what happened.  And they should.  In today's world where people contemplate making religious/political statements with violence, we should remember those who are the victims of that violence.

That horrible day I was working at a hospital.  Not in NYC, no I was working back in NH.  There are a few memories that stuck with me from that day.  The first was trying to explain to a homeless woman that I was helping in my office why everyone was so upset.  You see a lot of us forget that there are people who aren't up to the minute on the news or trends or whatever is on the tv/radio.  This woman, who was desperately trying to find a place to live, food to eat and a way to pay for the hospital bill that living on the streets with no medical care gave her.  She wasn't asking for much.  Just a roof, a full belly and a chance to pull herself out of the hole that life dumped her in.  Gently explaining to that all ready overwhelmed woman was a test of my understanding and kindness.  I hope I passed that one.

The next memory was of the hospital's clergy woman.  She was going from person to person who worked at the hospital, asking carefully what their beliefs were.  The carefully I am sure you understand, in these days of political correctness asking someone what religion they are is a no no. But you see she was doing her job, coming up with some way to help those in her care to deal with what many felt as an attack on their beliefs.  Being the only Wiccan on staff at the time she had some interesting questions for me on how to help those not of the Judeo-christian belief systems.

The most sad memory for me comes from a older volunteer who was working in my office, helping me with the filing that constantly backed up in a charity office.  A very sweet and friendly woman who was very good at helping in an office, she fell apart.  At first we had no idea why she just up and left the office and did not return.  It was days later that we found out that she had a son working in the World Trade Center.  I never found out what happened but for a long time I wish I had time to comfort her before she disappeared from our office.

Today we have learned a whole new lexicon.  We expect delays for security at airports, have shows about Homeland security and open debates about guns and fanatics.  But what I wonder as I sit here in my home in another country is did we learn anything?  Do we understand those of other religions any better?  Have we learned that western civilization has some things wrong and some things right?  Have we learned that we can't keep doing things the old ways?  While our world is smaller than ever, it just might be best to pull back and deal with the problems inside our own countries.  The US especially has become a demon in many places for trying to lend what is thought of as aid by some and interference by others.

There are so many places in the world that need help but it needs to be done minus the political agenda and with open minds and open hearts. 

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