A version of this was cross-posted at Mormon Dialogue & Discussion Board, available here and last accessed today: http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/61751-91101/
Though I do like to think I’m capable of reaching out to those around me who might need whatever succor I can offer, I’m not particularly an empath: it’s not necessarily a gift with which I have been particularly blessed. To the best of my knowledge, I had no friends, family, or reasonably close associates who died, or who lost friends or family members, in the tragic events of that day. Yet for years afterward, I was seized upon by an unaccountable sadness each time the anniversary rolled around. It frightens me, and pains me, that there are people on this planet (few, thank G-d, though they may be) who would kill me if they had the opportunity simply because I am a citizen of the United States of America (though it should be remembered that the killings that occurred on that day were indiscriminate: people of every race, color, creed, national origin, and religious stripe died that day.
One of my favorite hymns in the 1985 hymnal is “Sweet is the Peace the Gospel Brings”:
1. Sweet is the peace the gospel brings
To seeking minds and true.
With light refulgent on its wings,
It clears the human view.
2. Its laws and precepts are divine
And show a Father’s care.
Transcendent love and mercy shine
In each injunction there.
3. Faithless tradition flees its pow’r,
And unbelief gives way.
The gloomy clouds, which used to low’r,
Submit to reason’s sway.
4. May we who know the sacred Name
From every sin depart.
Then will the Spirit’s constant flame
Preserve us pure in heart.
5. Ere long the tempter’s power will cease,
And sin no more annoy,
No wrangling sects disturb our peace,
Or mar our heartfelt joy.
6. That which we have in part received
Will be in part no more,
For he in whom we all believe
To us will all restore.
7. In patience, then, let us possess
Our souls till he appear.
On to our mark of calling press;
Redemption draweth near.
In commemoration of the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, the Ensign [the monthly magazine for adult members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] published a little piece in its “Latter-day Saint Voices” section from Carson Howell, whose brother, Brady, was working as a Presidential Management Intern at the Pentagon that day. Brother Carson went to Washington with his family to await news of his brother, and he talks of how his family’s prayers for peace amid the chaos of that terrible time were answered, and how an e-mail his brother sent on the morning of the attacks continues to bring him “Peace.” http://www.lds.org/e…-peace?lang=eng. Here are other remembrances of 9/11 from Latter-day Saints: http://www.lds.org/c…-faith?lang=eng.
If you are religiously devout, I hope your faith brings you peace as we mark another anniversary of the dreadful events of September 11, 2001. If your faith (whatever your religious stripe) is wavering, I hope it can be strengthened, remembering that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are not our ways (see Isaiah 55:8-9 in The Holy Bible. And if you are not particularly religious (or even if you are an atheist) I hope a knowledge of life’s fragility will increase your determination to do your best to make the most of whatever time we have left together on this planet.