It's a little weird. I logged onto Facebook this afternoon to see a mixture of basically two messages. Everyone seems to be posting about one of two things. 1) A combination of 9/11 and possible Qur'an burning comments or 2) FOOTBALL.
It's been a busy day already and it being 4:00pm , I'm just now really thinking about either one of these things. Granted I've been concerned about and reading about the possible Qur'an burning for weeks (as the media has made this possible) and let's be honest, I live in Southern Louisiana where you're only allowed to think about two things in life, the Saints and the Tigers. But at the same time, a service project with the Young Adults in the morning and a women's tea at the church this afternoon, I haven't really taken into account much of what this day could mean, or does.
Do I remember? Yes. I remember walking back to the Kappa house on Mizzou's campus and having some random fraternity guy in the parking lot tell me something about NYC being attacked. I remember praying with several women at the sorority house and calling my mother to make sure my dad wasn't traveling that day as he often had for work. I remember thinking about those who died a senseless death and those who lost their loved ones because of a senseless act of hatred. I remember people wanting to sign up to serve in the military to protect our country and its freedoms. I remember being concerned for my friends who were Muslim, for their safety, and even for my friends who simply "looked" Arab-like. I remember hating the words about a Holy War and being discouraged at the violence committed because of fear and ignorance. I remember wanting people to understand the difference between a person of the Muslim faith and an extremist of any faith that gave that faith a bad name. I remember praying for those who were serving our country, prayer for their safety and well-being in the middle of this senseless act. I remember the flags and the moments of silence, the prayers for PEACE. I remember the country coming together and making statements like, "United We Stand, Divided We Fall."
United We Stand.
It doesn't seem as if we're very united though, on this particular day, 9 years later. We're fighting over economic issues, over racial issues, over political parties, taxes and health care. We argue about money and communication, about custody issues with kids and divorce court. We argue about what we are teaching our children in school, over where people are allowed to worship and about who is allowed to legally be married.
Divided We Fall.
We have fallen. We had fallen. We still fall. But I have hope.
I have hope that this country can stand united. We didn't necessarily stand united nine years ago. And we haven't necessarily stood united since then. But I have hope.
I don't hope that we stand in uniformity, believing in and espousing the same lifestyles, thoughts, religion, affiliations, ethics or the like. I do not hope that we stand together against those who are different, persecuting those who are not like us. Rather, I have hope that we will stand united.
I have hope that we will unite around our differences, taking into account the strength that comes from diversity. I have hope that we can stand united because our differences make us more complete, and more whole than we could ever be alone. I have hope that we will stand in unity, supporting one another not because we are the same religion, color, gender, age or ethnicity, but because we are united in our humanity.
Call me naive. Call me ignorant. But I would argue that hope is a difficult choice; not one of a mere naivete or ignorance. On the contrary, hope is a difficult choice, an unpopular choice, that I make because of my life experience, a choice I make because of what I have learned from my sisters and brothers in humanity.
I remember hearing something - probably about 9 years ago - about the point of terrorism. History has shown that the purpose, the point of terrorism is to stop life; not in that you end life, but that terrorism stops life. Terrorism is a successful tactic only when people allow themselves to be terrorised. Terrorism only works when we allow people to create an "us" and a "them" which in turn divides us, and does not leave us "united" in any way. Terrorism only works when we allow terrorism to stop our lives, to prevent us from living life because we are afraid.
I choose hope, because it helps me to not be afraid.
I choose hope, because it is that which builds bridges and extends hands towards one another.
I choose hope because while it is risky, it brings the most gain.
I choose hope, because it is ALWAYS better than despair.
I choose hope, because life is nothing without it.
I choose hope because it allows me to live life in such a way that fear prevents, to live my life to the fullest.
I choose hope because I have been give life by the One who showed me what hope is.
I choose hope because it is one thing that can unite all people against common enemies of humanity; against ignorance, poverty, hatred, and death,
I choose hope because it allows me to live my life. It allows me to live a life that will involve me going home, reading a portion of the New Testament, a portion of the Hebrew Bible and a portion of the Qur'an.
And then I will watch some football.