Usually my blog posts are light-hearted, but I can tell you now that this one isn't going to be. However, I can assure you that it will be heartfelt.
As soon as I realized today's date, I couldn't help but think about the terrorist attacks that happened exactly seven years ago. And as you know, there really wasn't anything light-hearted about Sept. 11, 2001. So my thoughts today have been reflective and solemn, as they have been and will be every September 11th.
I vividly remember learning about the attacks on America and spending the day as you probably did -- glued to the T.V. watching the unbelievable scenes unfold. It broke my heart. And it's still heartrending to think about all of the familes who suddenly and unexpectantly lost their loved ones. I recently read two books by Karen Kingsbury called One Tuesday Morning and the sequel, Beyond Tuesday Morning. Although they're fictional stories based on 9/11, the books made the suffering of people directly affected by the attack become real to me. I whole-heartedly recommend any book written by Karen Kingsbury.
There's another book I've been reading that also has me thinking about the suffering of other people. It's title is Not on Our Watch: The Mission to end genocide in Darfur and beyond. Even though there doesn't seem to be much media attention drawn to it, the fact remains that there are mass atrocities occurring in Darfur -- the western area of Sudan, Africa that borders Chad.
As unpleasant as it is to think and talk about, I've been imagining what it would be like to live in Darfur, struggling on a daily basis to survive in the midst of civil war, mass murder, rape, starvation and torture. And even though I'm being "Dana Downer" right now, I think it's important that we think about these things. But even more important, we must do something to STOP it!!
So besides making me think about genocide, this book about Darfur heartens my spirit because it encourages me to ponder what I can do to make a difference for the innocent people in Darfur. I figure that writing this blog post to spread the word about genocide is a small start. And I can encourage you to think about it, too, and check out this Web site to educate yourself: http://www.enoughproject.org/.
I just read a prayer written by Naomi Levy, and I want to share it with you:
I watch the news, God. I observe it all from a comfortable distance. I see people suffering, and I don't lift a finger to help them. I condemn injustice but I do nothing to fight against it. I am pained by the faces of starving children, but I am not moved enough to try to save them. I step over homeless people in the street, I walk past outstretched hands, I avert my eyes, I close my heart.
Forgive me, God, for remaining aloof while others are in need of my assistance.
Wake me up, God; ignite my passion, fill me with outrage. Remind me that I am responsible for Your world. Don't allow me to stand idly by. Inspire me to act. Teach me to believe that I can repair some corner of this world.
When I'm in despair, fill me with hope. When I doubt my strength, fill me with faith. When I am weary, renew my spirit. When I lose direction, show me the way back to meaning, back to compassion, back to You. Amen.
Wow, that's powerful. Pretty much says it all. No matter who you are reading this, I encourage you to pray this prayer and join me in doing whatever possible to help end genocide.
Let's think about and reach out to people all over the world who have experienced/are experiencing any kind of tragedy, which of course includes 9/11. I ask this from the bottom of my heart.