Wednesday, September 11

Memories of 9/11... and Hopes for Tomorrow

I was in German class.

We weren't in our normal classroom that day - we had gone to a computer lab for some type of interactive learning software - but I don't remember much of what we learned. I don't remember much German at all, even though that was my second year in high school.

My teacher turned on the newly installed television and we watched the footage of a building burning.

I don't remember having any feelings. Looking back, I know that, from the outside, that would be strange - not really having any strong feelings at all. I think my dad was actually on a trip to Washington DC (he never goes on trips, so I wonder how accurate that memory is), but no fear, anger... just nothing. Emotions weren't a part of my everyday back then. They lived and breathed in me when they wanted to, and then would disappear entirely without a trace.

I remember someone telling me that the world was banding together in the wake of 9/11. I had never been to New York that I could remember, didn't know what the twin towers of the World Trade Center looked like. I lived in a Chicago suburb and my life just kept moving on. I do remember one thing though. One day as we were driving across the country, we approached a toll booth and the operator told us the car ahead had just paid our fare. Something in my mind connected the occurrence with 9/11. The world was banding together. People were becoming kinder... and I felt I could see it in anonymous service. It helped me remember to be kind myself.

When they installed the automatic tolling system on Chicago roads it made driving faster, but eliminated the opportunity to pay for the person behind me. I don't think anyone brought that up at the meetings involved. It was years after 9/11 that the systems went into place. By then most people had gone back to life... anxious to get where they are going until they realize there is so much more to mortality.

Some days I wonder about the difference in feelings that we all share. I feel like even if a catastrophe hit me close to home - if I lost my family and the people I know and was scarred for life - life would just keep going. Things would change, I'm sure I'd be sad, but life would keep moving forward. And not long after, the emotional intensity wouldn't be a part of my day-to-day.

That sounds Vulcan.

But I'm not going to tell myself that my feelings (or lack/difference) are wrong. Feelings are feelings - it's actions that matter. And mixing together my faith with bipolar, ASD, and same-sex attraction means that I have a plethora of both converging and divisive feelings.

I think the world will only become harder as time goes on. I want the world to be a better place. I don't really understand people, how they think, how they feel... what makes them do the things they do. But I care about people enough to want them to find the happiness I've found in the gospel... and to help them find happiness in any way I can.

1 comment:

  1. Your Vulcan comment reminded me: Did you ever watch Star Trek: The Next Generation? Do you relate in any way to the episodes of Data trying to understand human emotions? Have you ever felt like you identified with Spock in his detachment from human emotions and everyday humor?

    I'm shocked you didn't know what the World Trade Center was. I was obsessed with tall buildings as a kid and got to actually go to the observatory deck of one of the towers as an adult. No more.


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