Monday, September 26, 2011

thinking about being a little more thankful...

So I have a pretty "cake" life.  I'm Caucasian.  I live in the U.S.  I grew up in a safe, and loving family.  I learned early on the importance of laughter, education and love.  I am well educated.  I am married to a loving man, who is a wonderful father to our children.  I have full cupboards.  A safe, affordable house.  A safe automobile.  A safe neighborhood.  Enough money to do what we need to do, with a little left over to do something fun too.  All this hasn't changed much over the span of my life.

I know that it isn't a popular or even politically correct idea, but I don't think we should, as a nation, dwell on how 'everything changed' on September eleventh.  For me, it didn't.  I never believed that anyone would send an attack into the middle of the nation.  I don't think this kind of attack would have enough of an impact on our country.  I never believed that any retaliatory attack on one country (like Afghanistan or Iraq) was an answer to what happened to all the innocent, beautiful people who died because of the fear mongers who chose the one day of the year that matches our call for help.  One nation didn't attack us.  Muslims didn't attack us.  Fear mongers all over the world wish to hurt those who offer hope to the masses.  Even those twisted, imperfect, sometimes diminishing rays of hope that are emanating from our nation today.  We were and remain a good target.

For anyone who pays attention to world news, the pain and loss felt in so many other nations every year, month, week, and day happen at such a rate that whole nations work within the framework of post-traumatic-stress-disorder.  Leaders all the way down to young children.  (links describing Ongoing Wars, Famine, Terrorism)  Those who wish to spread the diseases of fear and hatred cherish these areas of strength.  My point is that most people in our nation have very little to do with the stress and pain of this kind of fear.  I fear that the planet will continue to warm and my children and grandchildren will live more difficult lives because of our lives today.  I fear that my husband's job will be cut due to a lack of structural support in the education system.  I do not fear that I will shop in a store that will be bombed.  I do not often fear that bullets, intended or stray, will harm those I love.  I know that these are possibilities, but unlikely ones. 

Our nation has spent over a trillion dollars 'fighting terror' with little success other than killing Osama Bin Laden.  Our taxes haven't gone up for decades, though there are many who would argue that we all pay way too much as it is.  Our nation has been involved in two big wars, along with loads of smaller 'humanitarian efforts' world wide with little impact on our lives here at home.  How is that possible?  We are now a nation living well beyond our means.  But that is done merely by choice, or by ignorance, or more sadly, by the choice to ignore.

The almost three thousand people who died without justifiable cause on that sad September day will always be remembered and cherished by those who loved them.  Even honored forever by a nation of people who knew them only through the stories and pictures shared by their family and friends.  I didn't know any of them.  For the pain felt by those who did know them, I am thankful I was spared that pain.  I do not know the pain of losing someone in such a senseless, tragic way.  But I can't forget that there are people the world over who are afraid, with just cause, to leave their homes.  Who fear that their children will be killed by warring bands of men all fighting for power over them.  Who can name a long list of those they loved who have already died by stray bullets, by planned explosions killing random groups of innocent people, by acts of people who care only about spreading fear.

Because of September eleventh, I am thankful that our nation now has a heartfelt connection to those other peoples of the world dealing with the same senseless, tragic loss caused by terrorism.  I hope that one day we will also know the joy of helping nations where terror attacks happen so much more often.  Where our nation's 'beacon of hope' is not just a fairy tale heard in daily life lived far away, but as a daily reminder of alternate options for dealing with a nation's struggle .  By knowing that our nation, without putting ourselves in a cycle of poverty, can offer help and hope in real ways today.  But today, we aren't there.  In some ways, our soldiers offer controlled peace in small areas of the world.  There aren't enough of them: soldiers or areas of peace.

I know that there are many who will think I am a terrible person to say these things.  To be here, saying that something we do as a nation is wrong in my eyes.  That's just fine.  Because I live in a nation where I can share my thoughts without fear of political retribution.  With the knowledge that my free speech is protected and cherished.  I am thankful for my luck at being born as I was.  I did not deserve this life, but I am forever thankful for it.  I pray that many more feel as I do; this thankfulness for the life they are given.  I have an easy life to be thankful for.  I know most others are not.

{I do want to also highlight my awareness and thankfulness for those people who work in the military and world wide aide organizations who work tirelessly toward making the dangerous, and painful places on this earth more peaceful and safe.  I honor all those who do this work, and especially those who give their lives for this cause.  There is no greater gift than this.  For all those who do what I do not, thank you.  An inadequate couple of words for the feeling, but all that I have.}
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. For perfect love casts out fear" (2Tim.1:7; 1Jn.4:18).  
"Those who are at war with others are not at peace with themselves."- William Hazlett; 
"Nothing is so strong as gentleness. Nothing is so gentle as real strength." - Frances de Sales 
"To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace." - General George Washington
Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.