On this day, 13 years ago on 46th St. in New York, I received word, a whisper in my ear, that the first tower went down. Tragedy and horror can still communicate so well from a soft and calm voice. I couldn’t do anything but sit numbly and digest this nightmare.
A few days later, we went down to help. The outpouring of food, dogs, dog food, people, anything and everything to aid in a crisis was there in super abundance. It was the most impressive demo of the basic need we humans have to help. If it wasn’t for the disaster, it could have been a joyful festival where no one was a stranger. On the other hand, the deep satisfaction we got from giving during this time was far greater than a few happy moments of playful leisure
There was plenty of aid in the form of physical things like any and every type of food, drink, cots to rest on, etc but the greatest one for me was simply listening, letting a tired fireman or policeman or anyone else who spend many, many hours of continuous, exhausting digging, to just talk about it and without any interjection from me, especially when I did not witness the actual event or spend the first critical hours there. That is truly the most important part of listening – to keep one’s mouth shut. They don’t want to hear you, they just want to talk and expunge the pain. And they do if you just indicate now and then, with whatever words you choose that – yes, I hear you. One for one, they walked away with a smile, energized to do more after forty or more hours of wakefulness and they were grateful. So was I, to be able to help.
Did this horrendous event change our behavior towards one another? What came home to me that day was how much we need each other, tragedy or not. Now and then, ever since – like today – I remember that.
We sure don’t need to kill 3000 people uselessly to learn such a lesson of compassion and selfless aid to others but we can take what we can from it. We can avoid the temptation to hate those who created it out of their own hatreds and lusts for ungodly treasures. Their whole premise seems to be: take others down so we can live! Never in the history of this universe, or any other, has this perverted goal accomplished anything but death – of body and soul. Yet still, this black legacy goes on, inherited and practiced by a few terrified beings who think this is the only way.
It’s not, not ever. Most of us know this deeply, and, though we fumble, we live our lives knowing others matter. It could very well be all that matters.
Written By: Lucille Femine