Spurred on by the AOL News article about Lee Ielpi....the first article I clicked on yesterday morning...I "leafed through" many links, articles and websites as I embarked on a fascinating cyber journey of hope. The original article provided a snapshot of Ielpi's loss...his grief and his resolve to make the world a better place. He, and many others I read about in my web travels, refused to let hate define them...to let hate fester in their hearts and sully the memory of their loved ones. They vowed to make the world a better place.
I read about these people with a sort of dropped jaw amazement....convinced I would never....could never.....react the way they are reacting. The evil perpetrated on 9/11 certainly seems to defy the "steps to forgiveness" I wrote about recently. Where does that kind of forgiveness come from?
As a Christian...as a believer in the "light that lights every many that comes into the world, " I know....in theory...where it comes from. But somehow...sitting here on my couch....imagining in my mind's eye how I might feel if I had lost one of my children in the fall of the Towers....if one of them were among the thousands of people who are missing...who were simply vaporized that day, I cannot imagine the least bit of interest in making the world a better place. To want to " bless those who persecuted me and mine?"
But that is exactly what many of these families are doing. Amazing.
Like the leaven in the dough the Bible talks about, they are slowing changing the world by living out the kind of other centered love that Jesus talked about....loving their enemies and "being the change they want to see in the world."
I visited Mr. Ielpi's blog, The Persistence of Memory....which linked to the organizations he helped to birth…. the September 11th Families Association and the Tribute World Trade Center Visitors Center.
One of the resources available at the Tribute site is an educational series on 9-11 called Stories of Transformation. It encompasses many aspects of the tragedy. It describes the events of the day...and the aftermath from the perspective of about ten different people. One...the principal of a high school right across the street from the Towers. She lost her sister that day...and eventually went on to not only move back to the school but to also found a school in Afghanistan...that educates BOTH boys and girls. She sees education as a way to change the world.
It looks at the tragedy through the eyes of a 9-11 widow with young children who refused to get caught up in the mission of the terrorists....to spread hate. She, along with another woman widowed on 9-11, formed an organization to help widows in Afghanistan. They provide help and assistance in the form of grants for education for these women in a locked down country where there are no civil rights or opportunities.
There are other stories, too....of a survivor....a female police officer, a Japanese man who lost his brother in the bombing of Hiroshima...and his son in the Twin Towers. I will write more about him in an upcoming post.
These resources are very well done...with short videos and information that help to "put a face" on a few of the people who were profoundly affected by the events of 9-11.
More to come…..