This year I heard some people grumbling about 9/11: "Time to get over it."
No, it's not. Because we, as a country, don't know how to mourn, the first few anniversaries brought excessive displays of camera-ready grief that provided convenient masks for our real fear and anger. Since Ground Zero is now old news and there's no longer an excuse for the hoopla, some people interpret this as "time to move on." You're wrong. Not that your pain was any less than mine, but mine will never completely heal; I won't let it. Part of my story, my life, was amputated that morning. A place was murdered that was entwined with memories of my mother, dear friends, a kiss from my first boyfriend 103 stories in the clouds, the glint of sunlight bouncing off hulking slabs of concrete as seen through the leaves of an enormous, incongruous palm tree as I sang Christmas carols in the Wintergarden, the pride of feeling like an adult at one of my first summer jobs 77 stories up, where I typed invoices in triplicate while the floor swayed with the turning of the earth. (It really did.) Just like after the deaths of people I've loved, time has been a great healer. I don't think of 9/11 often, and can walk down 6th Ave. without noticing the gaping hole above the southern sky. But I believe we all need at least one day per year to consciously reflect upon what happened, and why we remain so far from peace. As we say during Yizkor: Give me the gift of tears... Give me the gift of hope. (Siddur Sim Shalom, p. 518)
Absolutely nothing is different on our political horizon today than it was six years ago. Not only have we not moved on--we've moved backwards.
That sounded very bitter. I really am not. Except for this coming morning, also a Tuesday, which I pray will be cold and cloudy, I feel the hope and joy of this New Year starting to peek up like so many dandelions between cracks of a sidewalk. When I was a kid, I had no idea dandelions were weeds. They were simply lovely bright yellow flowers that persevered no matter how challenging their patch of cement.
Here's a wonderful interview with a brilliant young rabbi in L.A. who really gets to the heart of what these Yamim Nora'im are about:
"Days of Awe" (from American Public Radio's Speaking of Faith)