One Morning

As we come upon another year on the anniversary of 9/11 we find ourselves more polarized than ever. Our national politics has descended into a climate of incivility and indecency. We have traded civil discourse for stinging one liners and emotional tirades. We engage each other in the most brutal personal attacks and character assassinations. It is as if we have abandoned any modicum of ethics for the sake of Facebook likes, Twitter followers, and sensational headlines.

But in some respects, this is nothing new. Our country, though steeped in the narrative of freedom and democracy, is born of violence, and though it struggles to become a more perfect union, we have allowed our differences to segregate us instead of uniting us. The difference for our society is the rapidly changing technology at our disposal, that although can be both used for constructive and destructive means, what gets attention is the latter of the two, which we have used to amplify the lowest part of our human nature.

Every day, we need to engage in a relentless self-critique, to internalize what it means to be a citizen and a human and the value of it, and we need to demand of ourselves to participate in the creation of a more perfect union, to not wait for someone else to step forward and take action, but instead be the change we want to see in our communities, and be the catalyst for fundamental goodness and grace.

As every facet of our lives have become more toxic than ever, this is our task and our responsibility, to cleanse our language and our deeds, to truly and authentically look at each other as human beings, and to finally treat everyone as our brother and sister. This task is not only for our collective sanity, but for the survival and the future of this nation, and in the global village in which we all reside.

If we love each other as we proclaim to do as spiritual beings, then we need to be there for each other not just for one tragic morning, but for every morning of our lives. This poem is called One Morning:

One Morning

 

One morning

two planes

crashed into our

humanity

 

One morning

the cries of 3,000

reverberated throughout

the planet

 

One morning

the stillness of peace

erupted into flames

 

One morning

the soul of a people

was irrevocably changed

 

It takes centuries

for a tree to grow

yet minutes

to fall

 

It takes

decades for a human life

to mature

yet in seconds

it can expire

 

It takes months

to erect a tower

yet one morning

to collapse

 

We spend

generations

cultivating a society

for all of us to live and thrive

to love and evolve

 

Sometimes

we take this for granted

that things take

years to build

and moments to ruin

 

Sometimes

we forget to protect

and honor and cherish

what is sacred to us

believing

it will always be there

 

Sometimes

we forget

as we scurry around

in our daily fury

to stop

and remember

who we are

and whose we are

 

And then

one morning

it becomes

too late

 

Like the trees

towers do fall

but what we did before

and how we stand

in that moment

and what we do next

marks who we are

 

On the day

of the anniversary

of one morning

we pause

and reflect

and proclaim to our selves

and to each other

with the haunting echo

of the ancestors

from the soil of

ground zero

 

never forget

 

May we

on that same day

and every day

never forget

what we have created

what we hold sacred

to what we are dedicated

 

never forget

for one more morning

who we are

and whose we are

to honor

to protect

to cherish

 

to love

Ron Kipling Williams