We all know what happened on September 11, 2001.  We also know where we were and what we were doing at the time the events began to unfold. What was going through your mind was probably something similar to what was going through mine…utter disbelief!   I remember it well… too well.  I was preparing to drive from Salt Lake City, Utah to Seattle, Washington.  As I sat in my kitchen watching the events unfold, I could not make the connection that this was real. I knew it to be real, but there was this mind block.  It was just unbelievable.  It was unacceptable… it was not what I wanted to be experiencing.  But there is still hope!

As I began the trip later during the day, I found myself from time to time driving in tears. This occurred often, whenever I let the terrible events come into my consciousness.  I had purchased books on tape to keep me company on this long drive.  As most of you are aware, there are times when the radio doesn't have anything of interest on it if you are traveling through small towns.  But this trip was different; I spent most of the time tuning to any station that had updates about the tragedy.  Needless to say, the books on tape received minimal play.  I also noticed a difference in people for the first time in many years.  At rest stops and restaurants, I noticed strangers were talking to each other.  As sad and terrible as it was, this event was uniting us as a nation.  When I sat down for dinner, I found myself in conversations with people around me. We were all talking about what had happened in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. We also got to know a little about each other on a personal level.  I say this because it is important to get to know people.  For so long, most of us have gone about our business taking care of our everyday needs without many thoughts about our neighbors or people we encounter?  Yes, many of us give to charities and volunteer from time to time, but we don’t always get to know people. We show sympathy for those in need and try to help as best we can… but we don’t get to know people.  Giving to charitable causes is a good thing… a great thing, but this is all surface stuff… We need to go deeper!  We must remember there is still hope!

True empathy can only occur when we connect on a spiritual level with what another person is feeling.  I believe the events of 911 have caused this to occur. We are now interested in what another human has to say and what that person is thinking and feeling.  We are in essence, doing more than sending money… and food… and manpower to New York. We have connected on a deeper level.  We send our love and healing energy when this connection is made.  There are no words to describe the pain we feel as a nation… a world regarding the senseless tragic lost of life.  This bombing didn't just happen to New York, or Washington… it happened to America and to mankind as a whole.  No matter what your belief system may be… somehow… we are all connected on the soul level.  What we do to one… we do to all.  But there is still hope!

The men who planned and carried out this cowardly deed said it was done in the name of their higher power (Allah).  I know this higher power as God (there are other names for higher powers).  It is my belief that God is love, kindness and generosity.  He does not punish or hate like these people do.  He does not condone these actions on any level. Furthermore, he does not promote us in being vindictive.  I'm sure the terrorists have found this out for themselves, as I am sure he made sure they have been shown the truth.  Allah, God, Jehovah or any other higher power that teaches love and understanding was not a part of their mission, as some might want to proclaim. That is not to say that he will not use this event to show us his love.  One of the ways this is done is by allowing us to feel the love and compassion of another person.   I know it sounds like I am preaching, and that is not my intention whatsoever… I want you to know and believe there is still hope. 

I have hope we are growing from this horrifying experience.  I have become keenly aware pain serves as one of the greatest teachers to push us forward.  Pain is very difficult to face, but it is a necessary part of life.  We have to face this pain head on and not push it below the surface.  This is very difficult to do... but by leaning on each other… and calling on the Supreme Being… we can.   Be honest about your emotions, but know we can only grow if we first feel it, analyze it, question it and try to solve it.  Together, we all have the answers to the questions inside us. We only need to open our hearts to find them.  We have to ask for that guidance from our higher power.  There is still hope!

Remember, each of us has been equipped with free will.  This is something we sometimes forget, especially at times like this.  The suicide bombers also had free will.  They chose to perform a horrific act with that free will.  Let us continue to combine our free wills as we have been doing recently for the good of all mankind.  For there is still hope!

Some might say to speak of brotherly love shows weakness.  I do not agree.  We have been taught that love conquers all.  I fervently believe this to be true.  This does not mean,  I do not believe in defending myself or in my country’s right to do so.  For I am proud of the way we as a people have responded to this act.  We have shown our goodness and our love for each and at the same time we have been supporting our government in its efforts to stop terrorism. GOD BLESS US ALL and THERE IS STILL HOPE! 

Marie O'Neill has been gracious enough to share her thoughts with us again.  She has relocated from Salt Lake City Utah and now lives in Washington State with a view of the Pacific Ocean.  Her husband Bill, still is getting medical treatment.  We wish them the best in their new home and of course we wish Bill a complete and speedy recovery.