Thursday, September 11, 2014

Over There

It's easy for us to desensitize ourselves to death when it's "over there".  The memories of 9/11 are difficult for Americans because we saw it happen here. The people that suffered and died were familiar. They were like us. They were us.

But when we allows ourselves to move out of the insulated conditioning that most of us live with, we see the world differently. When we see life through the perspective of the Kingdom of God, we realize that "they", "those people", the ones "over there", are familiar as well. They are like us. They are us.

This is an email that I received this last year from a dear friend of mine, and fellow Franciscan brother. Feel the pain that he is feeling because he has chosen to see the world through this perspective. As I said in my previous blog, when we allow ourselves to mourn the loss of life anywhere in this world, the Kingdom of God is realized just a little more than it was before.

Hello All:  Asking for you to remember me in prayer today.  I believed I had made it through the 9/11 memorials without personal incident.  I avoided all references to the occasion.  But this morning as I read facebook and emails from yesterday I had a huge upwelling of anger and frustration.  I struggle with my friends and countrymen's obsession with our own losses, ignoring the massive loss of innocent life our acts of retribution have caused.  My mind flashed back to entering Baghdad in the first few days of "liberation" and seeing the city covered in small black mourning banners.    Individual families had made these banners to announce the death of a child, daughter, mother or some loved one. Estimates are 140,000 innocent civilians died in Iraq directly from warfare, the secondary death numbers are estimated at up to a million.  I have a banner I picked up from a ditch that I keep in a box in the back of my closet in memory of my complicity in the death of all the innocents.  I will carry that memory with me forever.  I try to see the experience as an uncomfortable blessing and guidance from God.  I thank you for your patience in allowing me to express my feelings this day.  Please pray for my anger to subside and that the love of Christ fills me today so that I can be a reflection of Gods love to all I encounter. 

Thank you. God Bless.

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