This morning, I’m aware of remembering; yet, this remembrance doesn’t have to take me away from now. It can infuse this moment with love. It can infuse it with possibility. It can infuse it with transformation.
Today, we remember the ninth anniversary of 9/11, those who died, and those who’ve suffered deeply from the events of that day. Nick Kristoff shares the efforts of two women, both of whom lost their husbands in 9/11, in a post titled The Healers of 9/11. These two women chose to respond to their loss with love and possibility.
“Devastated themselves, they realized that there were more than half a million widows in Afghanistan — and then, with war, there would be even more. Ms. Retik and Ms. Quigley also saw that Afghan widows could be a stabilizing force in that country.
So at a time when the American government reacted to the horror of 9/11 mostly with missiles and bombs, detentions and waterboardings, Ms. Retik and Ms. Quigley turned to education and poverty-alleviation projects — in the very country that had incubated a plot that had pulverized their lives.
The organization they started, Beyond the 11th, has now assisted more than 1,000 Afghan widows in starting tiny businesses. It’s an effort both to help some of the world’s neediest people and to fight back at the distrust, hatred and unemployment that sustain the Taliban.”
Susan Retik and Patti Quigley show us the power of women supporting women. They remind us of how much we are alike rather than how different we are. In the midst of their grief, they could still see just how much they have to give.
In the article, it is clear they know their actions will not end the violence. Yet, their actions underscore something we know about women. Ms. Retik shared, “If we can provide a skill for a woman so that she can provide for her family going forward, then that’s one person or five people who will have a roof over their head, food in their bellies and a chance for education.”
Remembrance infused with love, keeps us in the here and now. It brings the remembering mind down into the presence of the deep heart.
Remembrance infused with love can bring possibility into this moment, allowing grief to do its deep work, bringing fecundity to fallow ground.
This is the message that was woven through the powerful dating and relationship course I shared with women who lost their husbands in 9/11. And, this is the message they shared with me as we moved through this course together, back in those first few years after.
May we all “unleash our better angels” (as Kristoff suggests) as a response to our grief, our anger and our fears.
What are you grieving?
How might you infuse this grief with love, bringing you deep into the heart?
What is that one small action you might take, infused by the transformative power of loving remembrance?
photo by The Gifted Photographer, licensed under Creative Commons (NoDerivs 2.0)