11 September 2009

Life is short, 9/11/01

All too often we are reminded that life is short. On this day, September 11th, most of us in my generation (and probably the generation older and younger), who were too young to remember Pearl Harbor, will most definitely remember this day 8 years ago. I remember well that I was speaking to the Middle School chapel at Episcopal Academy in Philadelphia and I was speaking about the power of prayer. A good friend of mine has a father who attributes the healing of his inoperable tumor to the prayers of those around him. I was offering this testimony as a way for students to think deeper than their usual skepticism and agnosticism about the power of God in our lives today.

As the chapel ended, the Upper School entered the chapel along with the Head of School and other teachers, and then announcement was made about the World Trade Center, the Airplane in Western Pennsylvania, and the Pentagon. The chapel was an appropriate place to be, and I am grateful that I taught at a school where the chapel was where we gathered for celebration, for worship, and for mourning. We took time for prayer and offered support to our students and faculty - some of whom had relatives who worked in the World Trade Center.

I remember well the strangely quiet, clear skies above Philadelphia on those days when we all looked to one another, flew flags in support of our common loss, and looked to find meaning in what appeared to be a hopeless time. May we remember the unity that we felt in those hours, and may we remember that life is short, so that we may Choose Life!

Life is short,
And we do not have much time
To gladden the hearts of those
Who travel the way with us.
So be swift to be kind,
And as we go,
May the blessing, the love,
the joy, and the peace
Of the Holy One
Who is in the midst of us
Be among you and remain with you

(adapted from the French Poet Henri Amiel)

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