Sunday, September 11, 2011

Osama's Sunflowers

I have been dreading this day for almost 10 years, since I've known that it would be impossible to escape the continuous coverage of the events of September 11, 2001.

I think I'm glad that this anniversary falls on a Sunday.  If you want to know what I'm hoping to hear in our places of worship today, go to this post of mine on my theology blog.  The lectionary readings for today, readings that were chosen long ago before world events intruded on our ordinary lives, circle around forgiveness.  For a meditation on forgiveness and today's lectionary readings, see my post here.

For a great post that combines theology, Shakespeare, and thoughts on creativity, I like this post by Marly Youmans.

If  you want a post that lets you look further back, on the events of September 11, 1973, when the U.S. orchestrated a coup that overthrew the democratically elected president of Chile and catapulted Pinochet to power, here's a great post, with great links, by Lyle Daggett.

I've been thinking about Pinochet's reign of terror, about the events of 2011, about our loved ones who vanish and we're not sure what happened to them.  I've been thinking about ash of all sorts.  I've been thinking of all those documents incinerated on September 11, 2001.  I suspect I've been thinking about those documents so that I can repress the memories of bodies.  I keep thinking of the Pentagon, of taking a tour of the Pentagon when I was in grade school, of being told how indestructible that building was constructed to be--but it wasn't.

Today, I listened to this interview with Lawrence Wright, who wrote The Looming Tower.  I wanted a story more along the lines of this one  that explored the events of the summer of 2001.  I wanted a longer, even deeper discussion.  I'm haunted by all the things we missed, all the pieces we didn't put together.  I'm haunted by the folks who say they tried to get a meeting with the President and key staff to go over all of this, but the scheduled meetings were cancelled again and again and again.

It makes me think about my life and all its facets.  What am I missing?  What should I focus upon?

Lawrence Wright told us this nugget about Osama bin Laden, who flirted with both terrorism and agriculture, before committing to terrorism.  He loved his sunflowers.  I will be turning that idea around in my head all day:  the terrorist who fell in love with the sunflowers that he grew.

I understand how people become disaffected enough to leave their sunflowers behind and turn to dreams of destruction.  I'm grateful for my religious heritage that reminds me of the seductive qualities of evil, that warns me not to succumb to that glittery facade.

Will all these swirls find their way into a poem?  I'm not sure, but I'm willing to be those sunflowers will resurface in a poem somewhere.


marly youmans said...

Glad you liked it.

And I do wish he had gone for sunflowers...

Hannah Stephenson said...

So striking and human. That is what makes it terrifying and tragic.

Hannah Stephenson said...

And you should definitely write that poem, by the way.

Kristin said...

Thank you, Marly and Hannah for commenting. I've been thinking about those sunflowers all week!