The path not taken
"Sometimes a reader will protest that veils are forced submission, not religious choice."
I have a really hard time with this, not because it isn't true, but because it can lead to things like France's dumb laws regarding religious dress (which, curiously, seem to only target Muslim women.) I find that to be very dangerous as well, so I try to be cautious about my attitude towards hijabs/burkas/niqabs/etc. And I try to be even more careful about how I express my misgivings of such.
As such, I think you did a wonderful job with it. Your Pakistani neighbor was absolutely correct - your attitude towards her and other women like her is the one that advances understanding and tolerance of ideas that are challenging to us.
Thank you much for this piece.
Anyone with small kids, find the storybook Fire Boat about a historic fire boat and her crew of friends who helped put out fires on 9/11, it’s a great way to introduce what happened to younger kids. I loved checking it out from the library and reading with my kids when they were little.
Diana, Thank you so much for these thoughtful reflections and particularly the Boat lift Video. I had never seen it and was in tears remembering that day and the way Americans came together and stepped up at a time of need. Bless you!
After the "Oppie" movie, there were many conversations about the morality of dropping two bombs on Japen. John Rawls, Noted Harvard Ethics professor, wrote a long article about 60 years ago about the dropping the bombs. Paraphrasing, he wrote that when democracies must fight a war it must fight the war under and with the values, ethics and justice of democracies, not demonizing the "enemy" and seek a victory that will enable the defeated to rebuild. America did none of these things. We acted out of anger and vengeance, using the same methods the enemies. Ove 10,000 Americans soldiers died, and untold number of innocent people died in Afghanistan and Iraq, to name just two. We rightly remember the people on Flight 93, the women and men at the Pentagon, the World Trade Center android the first responders. These are the ones who lived - and too many died- the values of America.
Thank you for this perspective. It reminds me of this poem by Judyth Hill, on 9/11: https://www.judythhill.com/wage-peace-poem
Wage peace with your breath.
Breathe in firemen and rubble,
breathe out whole buildings and flocks of red wing blackbirds.
Breathe in terrorists
and breathe out sleeping children and freshly mown fields.
Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.
Breathe in the fallen and breathe out lifelong friendships intact.
Wage peace with your listening: hearing sirens, pray loud.
Remember your tools: flower seeds, clothespins, clean rivers.
Play music, memorize the words for thank you in three languages.
Learn to knit, and make a hat.
Think of chaos as dancing raspberries,
as the outbreath of beauty
or the gesture of fish
Swim for the other side.
Never has the world seemed so fresh and precious:
Have a cup of tea …and rejoice.
Act as if armistice has already arrived.
Judyth Hill ~ September 11, 2001
Thank you. I'd never seen that before and didn't know that part of it.
22 years--sometimes feels like yesterday, sometimes feels like we wasted our chance to maintain the love, courage and decenary that brought us all together. A missed opportunity from a disaster. Sad.
Interesting story of 9-11. Canadians were proud to assist that day, particularly the situation commemorated in the Come From Away plays. My brother was living in Stephenville, Nfld at the time, and recalls the line of airplanes parked the length of the runway approaches. Certainly the world changed that day, and despite the lack of connection between 9-11 and the stressful issues of today, it seems that somehow it relates-- it ended what for many of us Boomers was a bit of golden age. Suddenly the world was global, and the fences came down...we were all riding on the same ball in space, and we had better start cooperating and learning to live together.
In the vein, of tolerating different religions, I have wanted to ask for some time, what made you decide to choose the Episcopal tradition. Anglican for me here in Canada in London, Ontario. And what keeps you in this tradition. My wife and I attend a local Anglican church regularly and I am cradle to grave. Thank for the time to check out my question. Great writings and personal insights.l
We lived in the U. S. for 30 years and attended several Episcopal churches. Keep up your good works.
John Arber , regular reader of the Cottage.
Beautiful, thoughtful post. I love your reflection on a Loving God in different ways. ❤️🙏❤️
As a Canadian, 9/11 was something that we were part of too. It's a deep trauma that a lot of people still feel...22 years after the fact. The most upsetting thing to me about when 9/11 comes around every year, is the survival of conspiracy theories that are still referred to as the truth. Every year.
This is the first I've seen of the Boart Evac. I cried through the whole video as I saw the compassion of human beings for each other at the heart of the rescue. It's there, inside us, and like one rescuer said, "look deep...it's there".
Why does it seem to take a disaster to see it in action?
I was teaching an introductory class to beginning nursing students in a community college north of Boston when the program director insisted I stop early. Then she announced that an American Airlines plane leaving from Boston had hit tower 1. Students needed to leave to check on their loved ones. When the second plane hit tower 2 I was in my office. My office mate and I watched in horror as the the second tower came down.
Then the governor of Massachusetts closed all government building, including my college. The Police Officer directing us wouldn't let us turn off our computers. He did let me go to the bathroom because I had a 45 minute drive home.
My first destination was a friend's house. She and her sister were both American Airlines flight attendants and were supposed to be on the first plane. We had seen each other at a picnic on Saturday. On Sunday, her sister talked her into giving up that flight so they could stay in Maine an extra day. I did not know that. I was so relieved to see her.
She suffered from survivor's guilt. It took a long time to get back to work, but eventually she did.
Now Maine is welcoming many asylum seekers from Africa. One of my devoutly Christian friends is involved with an organization that feeds and houses new families. Because of that she has become quite close to a Muslim family. The father, who regularly attends services at the local Mosque, tells her she will go to Paradise! As Maine, where most non-white citizens are Native Americans, opens our doors (slowly and sometimes reluctantly) to people from far away we are learning. And that is good.
Thank you both posts. they brought tears to my eyes.
Your daughter story is so familiar. Our children were taught tolerance for all people’s cultural and belief differences. They are flourishing in this much changed world.
My frustration now is the continued intolerance and/or lack of understanding that persists among Americans for those who are Muslim. I have been blessed to be a part of a Muslim family we were able to remove from Afghanistan. Their love and care for me far surpassed anything I could have given them. They have now moved to North Carolina but the children FaceTime me often. We love each other through and with the grace of God/Allah blessed be his name
Thank you so much for sharing both stories. I had never heard about the water evacuations. The story brought tears to my eyes!
When our younger daughter was about to begin middle school, she began to sense that her inclinations and our family’s Christ-following ways were noit in total sync.
At a social gathering, she happened into a conversation with a woman who had spent much of her life as a schoolteacher. We were not privy to the chat’s content, but the next day our daughter announced that she was becoming too focused on boys and on her appearance - and that she would like to enroll in an all-girls school that wore uniforms.
After evaluating the options, together we chose to enroll her in Harpeth Hall.
Harpeth Hall is not a parochial school. However, as part of its cultural “curriculum,” it educates the students about all religions’ major holy days and holidays and makes room for the practice of all students’ religious expression, while requiring none (except, perhaps, the occasional visiting of a church, mosque, synagogue or temple different faiths).
That 3-year sojourn was quite formational for our daughter. And it was during that season that she began taking ownership of her own faith as a Christ-follower. But she was also given the rich gift of tolerance, acceptance and honoring of others’ traditions.
It was such a wholesome and life giving experience.