On the way home, I drove down Ridge, one of the three streets that stretches from end to end of my hometown. Traffic was unusually slow, until finally I wasn’t moving at all. I got out and walked to the corner. From Oak street to Lake, the curbs were lined with people. Men, women, families. Many held candles. Some cried. Everyone felt lost.
Like me, they just wanted to feel apart. This life can be lonely, and despite what we’ve been led to believe, we’re all a lot more alike than different. On that night we hurt, collectively. I never thought myself to be a patriot. Love of country was something I thought reserved for Bible belters and southern white people. But on that night, I learned that we are all connected, that pain is not exclusive and that it was okay to care, even about people you didn’t know.
In the days that followed, I’d learn more about the world we live in than I ever thought possible. I’d become grateful for the liberties I now understood weren’t just given on other parts of the globe. I begin to comprehend the idea that with great responsibility comes the risk of attack, but true leadership means seeking to understand your attacker so you might avoid a war.
Today, as I pray for those affected eleven years ago, I realize out of the heartbreak and rubble, some of us were made better. For that, I’m grateful.–JasFly