How We Behold

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By now, we have all had the chance to recount Sept. 11 of last year although I doubt that any of us really want to go over it again. I’m trying to figure out our compelling need to relive the tragedy. Is it because of its magnitude or largely because today’s media tells us to?

The tributes made to individuals who died that day are a special experience that we need to observe on a grand scale.

I wonder, though, how fruitful, and for that matter how healthy, it is for us to relive some of the images captured for posterity that we are made to view over and over. How do we face the gravity of last fall without becoming overly fearful. That’s the trouble; we live in a video world. We record real life on film the same way we do make believe. Maybe real life wasn’t meant to be relived in this way. Maybe we aren’t supposed to see things in all their completeness again.

Before camcorders, how did parents ever make note of all the events in their kids’ lives? How could a mere recollection through the eyes of the beholder have been enough when we can have it all though the unbiased, all encompassing eye of a camera?

Many times I have been so intent on taping an event in my children’s lives that I forget to take in the real thing as it happened.

I agree with a woman I heard in a radio interview who said she was afraid we would replay scenes of the destruction and relive our disbelief so many times that it would become not only larger than life but surreal.

Last Sunday, I sat with my family in our church and prayed that our nation would not feel such a need for vengeance that we only look for short term gain and forget the lessons to be learned from the unity we felt in the worldwide outpouring of help, kindness and thoughtful words and deeds.

Reviewing the negative forces of that day enables us to remember the positive measure that followed and renew our compassion and hope.

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