It is the very first year since 9.11 in which I have chosen not to watch anniversary coverage. Finally I see I need no mnemonic of what happened on this day 15 years ago. Each year, on this day, I have been pulled to stare robotically at horrific heart-wrenching images on the television screen, or on my laptop. Visible impressions I have undoubtedly seen 300 times or more, but have failed to numb me enough not to still create a lump at the back of my throat when I see a plane hit the first Tower. Those images, still poignant in my mind’s eye, are a reminder of the fleeting nature of life, and the unpredictability of one’s last breath. That day, on 9.11, no longer serves as a prompting of how complex it is to live in an increasingly frenzied universe.
We are so fragile. The fate of one’s destiny is so ambivalent.
Yet, like the troubled men who boarded iconic airliners 15 years ago, the 2016 election has highlighted a kind of schizophrenic mind-set of too many people. How hatred–or self-hatred–can be so visceral and have undeniable energy. It’s like the bully in middle school whose insecurity is so intense; he or she uses that woundedness as their personal armor. And in essence that woundedness is that bully’s pseudo power. Yet if you put that bully in a room–or those men who boarded aircrafts 15 years ago, or the hate-filled people who use the election to justify their abhorrence–the bully will be intensely uncomfortable if someone–anyone–talked to that person from a place of unconditional love. Isolated from the thing that makes them feel powerful will, in essence, emphasize their shame, their weaknesses.
More and more I am unsettled by how the world is evolving. I am much too aware of how troubled I am by the turbulence of a society that appears to be lacking a soul. I make attempts as often as I am nudged to do so, to see that there is enough good in humanity to turn this all around. Yet on days like this, when every corner of the world will be reminded that because of the acute capability of hate 3,000 souls met an ineffable fate on 9.11.2001, I wrestle with increasing doubt. And because of the swell of hatred that permeates throughout the universe, I find myself sad and weary and disconnected.
Perhaps that is the point. There are levels of bullies. From the schoolyard tyrants who feel so terribly small, to the extremists–tormented, and supposedly faith-inspired men, who changed the fate of America on 9.11. But they are no different from the rest of us: Those of us that try mindfully to make sense of our lives. But because the bully’s mind is so restricted, they want us to feel sad and weary and disconnected, because that is precisely what they are feeling, too.