Tuesday is the 6th anniversary of the suicide attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Six years later, I am still so sad for all the innocents who lost their lives after walking out of their dwellings and going to their jobs. I still can't fathom people who hate people they don't know more than they love themselves and their own lives, even though we see these kinds of people throughout history. I remain stupefied by that degree of animus.
I think, though, that life practically commands us to make something of this catastrophe, to do something to make it somehow less appalling, to repair some of the damage it did to the world. Since I can't change the world, only myself and my immediate milieu, all I can do is try to draw some lessons to apply to my own life. I'm not anywhere near as eloquent as Mario Cuomo, the former governor of New York, but he came close to expressing what I "made" of the tragedy. These remarks come from the transcript of the PBS documentary "New York: the Center of the World," the last in the epic documentary history of New York done by Ken Burns:
" Teilhard de Chardin, great French Jesuit paleontologist and a philosopher, said that one of the tricks in life is to convert everything into good. He makes the reference of the stone. You're a sculptor and you have a stone, and the stone has a scar in it. And well, all right, so now you have to -- sculpt around that scar and you've got to use that scar to make it part of whatever it is you're going to produce that's beautiful, and work with what you have. Play it as it lies. (You know.) So whatever the circumstance, (you know) use it for good purpose. 9/11, how can you possibly use it for good purpose? You think about it. You'd think, as was suggested before, you'd think about: Look, what this reminds you of is the importance of your own life, and making the most of it, because you can lose it in a flash. And if that's all you learned from 9/11, that's all you remembered, that: My God, you could extinguish life so suddenly, so unexpectedly, and it could happen to me, and therefore I should think harder about the way I spend my life instead of just wasting it. Now, it's not going to teach you what to do with your life, but it will teach you to do with your life, and to do it more and quicker and better. And that can be extremely valuable. I -- It's had that effect on me."
I hope everyone, today and every day, will remember to "carpe diem"...those who died six years ago in the blink of an eye never suspected their lives would end in a matter of minutes.
What lessons have you drawn from 9/11?