11
Sep
15

Healing is not forgetting

They said “Never Forget.”

And yet I almost did.

never forget 9.11

            I have to confess… I had a whole other idea underway for today’s E-Note. I thought it was a pretty decent idea, too, so I will just hold on to it and save it for another time.

But right there in the middle of planning out this other idea, I stopped, looked at the calendar, and saw today’s date: September 11. 9/11. The day we all said we would “never forget.” And yet… I almost did.

What is it – exactly – about that day 14 years ago that we are never supposed to forget? I suspect we are probably “never forgetting” for a lot of different reasons. It reminds me of the first time I saw the “9-11-01… NEVER FORGET” bumper sticker on the back of a friend’s car. I thought, “Of COURSE! How could I possibly ever forget this horrible day! Impossible!”

I know some of our remembering is because of the sorrow of the families who lost loved ones in those terror attacks. They were all people who kissed husbands, wives, fiancés, daughters, sons, or friends good-bye that morning, assuming it was just another day like every other. Not one suspected it would be their last kiss ever.

“Never Forget” means we want the sheer brutality inflicted and the innocence of the lives lost to be stamped on our souls forever.

Some of our remembering is about the outrage we all experienced when our ideal image of our country’s impenetrable borders and safe streets was smashed into a million pieces… just like the Twin Towers. If we ever forgot it would surely mean we were no longer angry about that massive indignity. I am sure that part of our “never forgetting” is based on a desire to continue to stoke the fires of revenge and hatred toward those who could do such a thing.

Does my near slip-up mean that I was on the verge of betraying the sacred, wounded memory of my country? Or does it mean, instead, that my psychic injuries from that event are beginning to heal?

I was interested to see an ad on TV recently for something (I assume is new this year, but I’m not sure) called “911 Day.” Here is the website: https://911day.org/. It looks like it is a movement that is about encouraging people to do a good deed for someone else on 9/11. In other words, it seems to be an attempt to change the narrative about the role the numbers 911 play in our hearts.

So is that a kind of forgetting? Or is it more like a healing?

When you talk to someone who has experienced grief and tragedy in life, you learn very quickly that forgetting is never really an option. It would be like an amputee somehow forgetting the fact that they had one arm instead of two.

Healing is not forgetting. Healing is telling a new story. Healing is learning to live in a new way with the new reality you have on your hands. Healing is saying, “Yes… that wound is still there. But the darkness and despair and fear that arrived in my life along with that wound are consuming less and less space in my heart every day. They no longer call the shots.”

Today I invite us into healing. Today I wish us each… maybe not a happy 911 Day, but a 911 Day that reminds us that the power of love and healing will always prevail over the power of hate and hurt.


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