I haven't confessed this to too many people, especially since moving to NJ and spending time in NYC. But I have never felt the kind of intense, personal, emotional impact most people seem to have in response to 9/11. It's not that I'm unaware of the horror of it, or the extent of the tragedy for those involved. But something about the insistence on grieving pushed me firmly away, emotionally. I resisted being drawn into it. Part of it is probably just my personality--I think abstractly, in terms of systems and patterns and ideas, and not people. And part of it may have just been some kind of perverse coping.
But today after dropping Clare off at "school," as we call it, I switched off our favorite "Music Together" cd and tuned the radio to 93.9, one of NYC's NPR stations. And listened to part of the memorial ceremony, and some of the commentary. And what hit me was a keen sense of the emptiness that must have been present in those last moments, when everyone realized the craziness was past the point of no return, and I wondered: could anyone feel the sense of religious fulfillment being sought after in the act? Isn't there something about the nature of that deed that would belie the sought-after goal, even for the most zealous, the most committed? I can't really know. But I hope so. I hope that God has arranged this creation such that when such confusion about who God is and wants from us, God's own creatures, leads to horrors, that even the most confused experience a moment of revelation about their actions.
It took seven years to feel something, and in the end, I don't even know what this emotion is.