Eleven years ago today, I was substitute teaching, but I also wrote, mostly for pleasure and expression of feeling.
At the time, I was still an Episcopalian and a lay minister, but was as much of a Christian as Bishop John Shelby Spong is. I did not believe in hell or a devil, but I hoped for an afterlife and believed in a similar deity to Bishop Spong. I also a vegetarian and held the same values as I do today without a belief in a deity, so the only thing that changed was a belief in a deity.
About three years after 9/11, shortly after my sons left the Church, I found I just could not believe it and left the Church myself, but before that was 9/11 and I remember that day I did not receive a call to fill in for a teacher that day.
I sent my sons to school and sat in front of my computer to write, but then remembered I needed to call the school concerning my younger son. I do not remember if it was about his IEP or what, but the principle answered.
She said, “Mriana, I can’t talk now. I have to do crowd control.”
Thinking it was a lock down due to a violent intruder, I asked her, “What’s going on?”
She replied, “Don’t you know?”
“Turn on your TV. Someone’s hit the World Trade Center.”
The phone clicked, so I hung up my phone, and I rushed to me TV to turn it on, spending the next several hours just staring at the TV in total shock and alone, yet not alone, with tears running down my face, especially after the second plane flew in and hit the second building. The whole world sat or stood in shock and horror too, as the planet fell deathly silent.
I could not imagine how anyone could do something so horrifying and to this day, I still have tears well up in my eyes when I think about that terrifying day.
The towers that stood since shortly after I was born slowly began to fall. I felt like Kennedy died again, but this time, I was there and not born three years later.
For days I walked around in a daze on a deathly quiet planet, still stunned at what happened and how two buildings that I often saw in pictures, TV, and other sources all my life were gone and with it several hundred people from all over the world.
About a week later, I sat down to write a poem/prayer about it and tried to make it religiously secular, because I knew people from a variety of religious backgrounds died in that attack. I shared that poem every year, on 9/11, for a few years, until I became a humanist and rewrote it to make it even more secular.
I never shared the second version, but today I thought I would share both versions, allowing both those who believe in a god and those who do not to appreciate one or both versions, letting others decide which one they prefer.
The original version I wrote in the style of prayer found in the Episcopal/Anglican Book of Common Prayer, with a slight correction of years. The second version was an attempt to make it completely secular, again with a slight correction of years.
We pray for those who lost love ones this day eleven years ago. That they may find peace, healing, and solace in their hearts, minds, and souls.
We pray for the various governments of the world, so that they may find a peaceful end to the violence of terrorism. Guide everyone of this world, in the ways of justice and peace, that we may honour one another and serve the common good.
We pray for the ones lost in the terrible tragedy of 9/11, so that they may find eternal rest and peace.
We pray for those who commit the acts of terrorism, so that they may find peace and love in their hearts, instead of hate and violence.
We pray for peace, unity, and an end to hatred and violence around the world.
We share our love, sympathy, and compassion with those who lost loved ones on this day eleven years ago and hope that they may find peace, healing, and solace in their hearts, minds, and souls.
We plea that the various governments of the world to find a peaceful end to the violence and terrorism.
We hope everyone of this world can find the ways of justice and peace, so that we may honour one another and serve the common good.
We remember the ones lost in the terrible tragedy of 9/11 and the aftermath of that tragic day.
We implore those who commit acts of terrorism to find peace and love in their hearts, instead of hate and violence.
Most of all we yearn for peace, unity, and an end to hatred and violence around the world.