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How could we?

Confessions of a realistic pollyanna

I remember where I was when it happened. I was working at home preparing for a meeting, when Brian phoned me telling me to turn on the television. I watched in horror as I saw a second plane fly into the second tower in New York City. My jaw drop as I watched the first tower collapse and then the other. It was an event that changed the world forever. That was my remembrance of 9/11 which happened 17 years ago today.

It was a few weeks later I was meeting with a bunch of ministers. The events that had happened a few weeks before were still fresh in our minds. Then one of the ministers said "I don't know how I could have done that." He was not admitting guilt. He wasn't saying that he was in New York City, or the Pentagon, or in Pennsylvania field where the four passenger planes were destroyed that day. But what he was saying is that he was shocked that humanity could possibly do that to one another. It was beyond his understanding as a human being that we could inflict such harm on one another.

Recently, I got to travel to Hiroshima, Japan. There I walked the Peace Memorial Park. On a Monday morning 73 years ago, an atomic bomb was dropped on the city just as people were going to work and school. Because of that attack, within months 140,000 people were dead. The picture above is of the industrial hall that stood near ground zero. Everyone in the building died instantly. Only the shell of the very well built building remains. Some say the atomic bombing was done to end the war with minimal bloodshed. But killed in that bombing would have been innocent children, saintly people, great teachers and mentors. Again I was left wondering how could we do this to one another.

I generally think that people are good people. I generally think people are concerned about their fellow human beings. But I also know that we have the ability to destroy. We do have the ability to create beautiful works of music and art. We do have the ability to be kind. But we also have the ability to destroy to hurt others. We can choose to get along or we can choose to be people of vengeance.

I for one am choosing kindness. I want to work with others rather than oppose them. I choose to shun aggression. May those things that are so abhorrent remain rare events. In the face of such evil, may I always be left wondering how could I rather than accept them as the way things are. Blessings.

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