I haven’t ever really mentioned September 11 here, partly because I didn’t feel qualified, but mostly because I didn’t feel that it belonged in this sort of arena. My thoughts and feelings about it are strong and varied and confusing, and I haven’t really known how to express them, or if I really wanted to express them publicly, since it happened.
I am not a big joiner; I never have been. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself after September 11—I would never have worn a patriotic T-shirt before then, and I would have felt even stranger wearing one after. The news and images sickened me, and captivated me, and upset me, but I didn’t cry. I felt a little guilty for this, but tears would have felt false, like when I used to make myself cry at youth group retreats when everyone would cry and talk about Jesus. These were important things, and emotional things, but they weren’t my things. They belonged to other people, and although I felt them, I felt like it was crass for me to pretend I was affected as they were.
I just finished reading the September 11 anniversary issue of Time, and the article about the 12-year old girl who lost her father in the World Trade Center attack made me cry. It made me want to put on my pajamas at 7 pm and eat rolls and milk and gummy bears for dinner, so I did. I don’t really know what else to say about it. I’m still confused and sickened by the whole thing, and by the way things are now. Even as I write this, I’m not sure why I chose to do so.
Last night I read some things I’d written from last fall, and I noticed how I was far more absorbed with what was happening in my own life than the tragedy and panic in the world. Worry and hope were prevalent: I was falling in love, I was about to lose my job. I didn’t know where else to focus my emotions and attention. The other events in my life were prompting me to look for escape and comfort already, so I can’t really say that it was as a result of September 11.
I still don’t have anything profound to say about it, really. All of the events of this past year have prompted me to realize who and what is important to me, and to embrace and focus on those people and things, regardless of what I’d previously thought I should or should not do. I’m not saying I don’t still worry about frivolous things—anyone who reads what I write here knows that—but I do feel more at ease with recognizing the longings of my heart, and pursuing them. Life seems too short not to.