Monday, September 13, 2010

beyond our sight

Somewhere up there a higher power may or may not be in control.

Except for a few lighthearted pieces on food and driving I fulfilled my summertime goal of clearing my mind by staying clear of my desktop.

And that my lightheartedness would end while looking into a clear blue sky is a bit of a surprise. Though, by comparison, it is very similar in nature to that of an early morning, just over nine years ago, that quickly led into the darkest of days in New York City. Hearts will be eternally heavy over the losses suffered on 9/11. Memories will be perpetually marred. Reflecting pools, memorials and monuments will be built. But we will not bring anyone back and we cannot turn back in time.

I knew a few people who perished that day, but no one who was close to me. Individually, whatever the level of pain, we carry on as best we can while continually working through the anger, sorrow and grief.

As a nation, following the attacks, we embarked on a war against the terrorists who happen to be Islamist extremists. Along the way, and through great controversy, our military has tried to improve the lives of the many other millions of Muslim people living in the war torn region. Nearly three thousand people were killed by al-Qaeda during the attacks on 9/11. Since that day, over five thousand American troops have been killed fighting terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq. Controversy included, and mistakes or not, our government and largely our citizens felt compelled to stay and help Muslim citizens rebuild their homelands into a better place to live.

I don’t expect the nation to ever fully heal from the emotional wounds rendered by watching the Twin Towers fall. But I do wish that a majority of us were able to discern that aside from the business dealings, greed and opportunism, the zealous and vehement opposition to the proposed building of a Muslim Community Center near Ground Zero is misguided.

And I don’t think the flames fanned by those who choose to desecrate the Quran should be confused with unhealed emotions. They are simply unhealthy extremes unto themselves.

How can we have the bravado to send five thousand troops overseas and to their death in defense of our nation and all that we stand for, including freedom of religion, and then be too afraid or too prejudiced to live the life we stand up for?

I suppose that I will never understand the mystery of a so frequently observed riddle. Why on earth is it, that mankind’s various quests for the divine so often spill over into fear, hatred and bigotry?

© 2010 Christopher’s Views

For more Posts of the Week, visit Hilary at her wonderful site, The Smitten Image.


  1. Oh, Christopher, what a wonderful, painful, truthful post for the day! It's been one of those difficult weekends for me and this was just what I needed to read, to reflect on! Thank you! I do hope you have a good week. Thank you for stopping by my blog. I've missed you!


  2. Christopher, you certainly have the gift for expression. Excellent post. Funny, I was looking up into the clear blue cloudless sky the other day and thinking I should take a picture and post it, just the blue sky. And you did! Great minds think alike. Although, I wouldn't have been able to write such a profound and thought-provoking post to accompany it. ~karen

  3. That 1st 9/11 was also a day with a beautiful blue sky forever marred by bigotry and hatred.

    I am glad I am reading more posts by Americans proclaiming our rights for all - freedom of speech, freedom of religion - and speaking out against misguided prejudice.

    Nothing is more heartbreaking than people using God's name to kill people they don't understand or like. Why do not our God-loving Americans see this makes them just like the terrorists?

  4. I will fight bigotry with you to the end, but I cannot see the invasion of Iraq as a proper response to 9/11. It doesn't help either that this was done under the administration of a fundamentalist.

  5. This was a beautifully written piece, Christopher. I liked the spirit and tone of it. I think we will someday heal. Time will pass, and new generations will be born and grow into our future leaders. I don't know that the country will heal within my lifetime, but someday.

    I think the worst thing about this anniversary of September 11th is that various individual's and groups tried to use it to stir up outrage for political, and personal gain. I can't even believe that a raving, mustached bigot, who calls himself a preacher and seems to have all of three dozen actual followers, got international attention for his hatred.

    There will always be angry, misguided, hateful people among us but he, thankfully, was not indicative of a large movement. He was treated as such, though.

    It's said that in the act of hating, we become that which claim to hate. That man said Islam is evil and threatened to burn the Quran, never realizing that all he was doing was turning himself into a crazed-eyed, blind bigot, seeking to destroy with flame that which he deemed evil.

    Sound familiar?

    We'll heal, I think, but what I really hope is that someday we simply choose to be better, which is not quite the same thing, I suppose.

  6. For me, 9/11 was the day America learned it's not an elite place, separate from the rest of the world. For me, it was the day we had to face the fact that we, like every other country that's been full of violence and death and unspeakable tragedy, are vulnerable. It made us part of the world.

  7. Wonderfully written! Congrats on your Post of the Week award!!

  8. Well said. As a European, we look on in amazement, despair and sadness as this controversy rages...

  9. too afraid or too prejudiced to live the life we stand for

    that is a true and sad and beautiful statement

    bravo on POTW

  10. Wise and Well spoken, Christopher

    Warm Aloha from Honolulu

    Comfort Spiral

  11. thank you for your kind words.
    and I love this. kudos.
    I posted some photos from when we were in N¥C and how the sacred of it struck me.
    I look forward to reading around here...

  12. I'm going to take a crack at answering your last question.

    I think fear and insecurity are at the root of most religion-based conflict. Everybody wants to believe that their way is The Way. When confronted by differing beliefs that also purport to be The Way, they feel threatened.

    Those truly secure in their beliefs can afford to be tolerant of others'.

  13. Hello again, Christopher. I'm just hopping around, visiting the posts Hilary mentioned over on her blog.

    As soon as I saw your name, I thought "Aha! Makes sense."

    Really a wonderfully written piece.

  14. Very well said, Christopher. I can't answer your last question, but will say that the quest for the divine is an issue quite separate from an individual's openness to another point of view. Christian teachings may encourage us to be tolerant, but the tendancy of most humans to surround themselves with like thinkers, and convert (not necessarily in a religious sense) those who are not is pretty resistant to that idea.
    Excellent essay.