Petit Fours on 9/11
I haven’t written about 9/11 this week. I’d thought about finding an appropriate prayer or something like that to mark the day, but didn’t. I think that’s for two reasons. First, so much is out there you wonder what you can contribute amid the flood of material. Second, I still find it at times hard to talk about. Several folks from my first congregations in NJ were affected by that tragedy and a dear college-friend of my wife was on one of the planes. So, as for many, it’s still a hard anniversary for us.
But then I came across this post from Brene Brown that I found incredibly helpful and wanted to share. I’ve featured some of Brene’s work on vulnerability, on shame, and on the parables of Jesus. What I always appreciate is her uncanny ability to name what’s true – what’s true about what’s hard in this life, what’s true about the dangers of trying to deny that, and what’s true about how we can embrace rather than flee from some of those hard things and find life through that effort.
Once again, she came through. Here is just a sample of what she wrote and, for me, the heart of the matter:
I started my research right before 9/11 and if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past decade, it’s this: We’re still in a lot of fear and pain about the events that took place that day and how they marked a huge change in our world. I also learned that the best way to overcome fear and to heal hurt is by practicing gratitude and kindness.
Take a moment, when you can, to read the rest of her post about her own 9/11 tradition of giving petit fours to local fire-fighters. It may not only encourage you but also inspire you to dare greatly, even in what seems small ways.
One last thing: I can’t say that I regularly quote Scripture or that biblical passages are always coming to my mind, but this time one did: “The light shines on in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:1). Actually, a second verse followed: “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:14-16).
So go out this day and week and let your light shine, trusting that even the smallest gestures of kindness and compassion can change the world.