Friday, September 11, 2009

A Short Meditation on 9-11

On the eighth anniversary of 9-11, I'm only 14 miles away from NYC, taking shelter from a rain storm in a Northern New Jersey. Eight years ago I was what felt like light years away, living in California.

I was 27 years old when that tragedy struck, when the collective consciousness of the nation was traumatized and, more acutely, thousands of individual families had to come to grips with the sudden and horrific death of loved ones. In the zealotry of my youth I remember writing a letter and sending it out to a group of friends, trying to process what the attacks meant to me. I'm glad I can't find it in my email files because I think it would be pretty tough to read.

My hunch is that at the time I used it as a platform to preach about what I was against - both the wanton killing done by those hijackers but also the historical record of America's interventionism around the world and the killings associated with that. Someone on a podcast I listened to recently made the observation that people in their teens and 20s often define themselves primarily by what they are against. I certainly was an example of that.

I hope that if this trip is teaching me anything it is to define myself by what I am for - community, loving one another, being Present and trying to be an agent of creation. As the soon-to-be 36 year old version of myself thinks back on that day eight years ago, now all I feel is an empathy for those who lost people who were part of their lives, people who they shared meals with, watched sports with, raised kids with, called when they had a problem or wanted to share a joy. In a blink of an eye, those relationships were ended.

I hope those people who lost family and friends have come to a place of peace and have been able to move forward. When I reflect on the lessons of 9-11 now, I think more micro than macro, and I remind myself to be Present with those I love as I interact with them each day. Nothing else is real.


  1. Thank you for sharing you experiences. I love how you describe your growth, that shift from what you stand against, to what you are for. Well said Poorman Walking. I wish you many blessings and may you Walk in Love every day of your life.

  2. Garth, Remember when... Mom Told me about your blog. Enjoy your journey more importantly enjoy the people. I'm glad you remember where you come from. So many people do not. West Hebron was a great place to grow up and your family helped make it that way. Your father and mother had a profound effect on my life as well as others. Life would have been much different for me without them. Especially your Mom's chocalate chip cookies. Yum!! Your Dad talked the the talk but more impotantly he walked the walk. A great role model for all of us. One of my favorite memories is your father laying in wait on your balcony for us kids to get off the bus with snowballs in winter or water balloons in the summer. What fun we had. Thanks for stirring up some great memories of growing up in West Hebron. Sam

  3. Garth you may remember me, I doubt it, but I left you a couple messages wishing you good luck on your journey on another site. I wish I was brave enough to pick up and take the journey you are on. There is no doubt how much more fulfilled you will be once you have taken this journey. I wish you health, happiness and prosperity. If you are ever in Missouri stop by and say hello. Good luck to you Garth. Peace

  4. I forgot to mention who I was, Shonta.

    from anonymous at october 26th 2009 8:45am