July 5th, 2006

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Human and Divine -

Jane and I write today of the fragility of our humanness, and also, the interlocking of time.  I may place our work of today here, because I feel it is an important day for us, as are all of them, naturally, and of course. 

I am with that today, as I read of the launching of the space shuttle yesterday and the danger the people aboard may still be in, and, as I read of North Korea, and, then, this editorial. 

How do we balance the human and divine?   Perhaps, as this editorial suggests, in the randomness that makes us one.


Naming Names at Ground Zero

Published: July 5, 2006

We have always respected the emotional burden the 9/11 families have had to bear, as well as the complicated ways that private grief intersects with public issues during the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan. But when it comes to the heated debate over how the names of the victims of the World Trade Center attack are to be placed at the ground zero memorial, we are simply puzzled.

The original design, endorsed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. George Pataki, places the names randomly around the two pools at the memorial. The natural analogy is to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, by Maya Lin. There, the names of the dead are recorded in the order in which they died. Neither rank nor hometown nor the circumstances of death intrude.

We will never know the order in which the 2,979 people who died on 9/11 met their deaths, nor will we know, for most of them, precisely where they died. To record their names randomly — though there will be clear guides posted at the memorial showing the location of every name — is to acknowledge the randomness with which death struck on that day and to honor the individuality of every victim.

In contrast, many 9/11 family members have argued that the names should be grouped by the tower they died in, the company they worked for, and the floor they worked on. The impetus is, in part, the desire to place loved ones in their context, to provide a richer narrative for each individual. That is more than any memorial can hope to provide, and part of the argument for a 9/11 museum.

This manner of arranging the names defines the identity of the people who died there almost solely in terms of their employment affiliation, rather than their stark and common fate. It will always be important to remember the names of the men and women who died at ground zero. But will it always be important to remember that they worked at Cantor Fitzgerald — to recreate on the memorial the office groupings in which they worked?

Death comes to each of us alone, no matter who we work for or who our colleagues are, and it came alone to each of the men and women who died on 9/11. To us, the most respectful acknowledgment we can make to them is to acknowledge them as individuals.

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Is that so?

Ken Lay has died of an apparent heart attack.   I sit with that today, thinking of all the people affected by his actions and how this might feel to them.

Somehow, it all boils down to me that someone is sent on their way, unable perhaps to handle what they did, and boosted now into new form.

I feel a softness today, gentleness.  I read the news, and am not affected.   Ah, this is what is going on today.  Ah, and now, and now, and now.
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Imagination -

I repeat these words of Albert Einstein because I am feeling more and more the power and importance of imagination.  With imagination, we can know how another feels, walk in their shoes, understand.  We can live all lives.  We can be kind.  I am inviting my imagination to even more awake.  I think it is why I am enjoying such wonderfully alive dreams.   Imagine, awake and asleep. 

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."

-- Albert Einstein

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Cindy Sheehan!

Cindy Sheehan, and others, are planning to fast until September 21st.  I wonder if a person can live that long fasting.  I think of Gandhi.  I suppose it is possible, and I feel concern.  She wants to know why we aren't all fasting until the troops come home.  I hear my stomach growling.  I know I will fuel soon.  I hear her plea, and, on this one, I am not able to agree.  I will continue to eat, and, somehow, on this one, I'm not feeling badly and I'm not sure why.  I think there is a place to ingest, and a way to speak.  She has lost her son.  Mine are still alive, and perhaps that is the difference.  I am trying to figure out the best ways I can be here for them, and, for me, in this moment, fasting does not appear to be the answer.  Perhaps, I am weak.  My cog, in this moment, is weak.  I don't have the energy I once had, though my feet are finally getting closer to normal.  Perhaps we each fight our battles our own way.  I admire Cindy Sheehan, and I can't join her in this fast.
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grieving -

I receive a card today from a woman who has lost her son because of the war in Iraq.  She is trying to focus on the "love and humor and warmth" that was so much a part of her son.  Again, I cannot imagine her grief, though I spoke of imagining earlier.  This is beyond imagining, and perhaps, that is why it is so hard to know how to meet each mother in how she chooses to deal with her grief.

My heart goes out to Cindy Sheehan and all the loss of this world.  I know there are lessons in it, and the pain seems almost to defeat, but, there is the catch, almost, and that is where we meet.  

My thoughts for today -



        awareness rumbles and trembles,
                roots and fondles,
    penetrates one stone, and then, the next,
        until all stones are help in a grasp
                    liquid with longing,
                                what leans
                                and back -