Monday, September 12, 2011


I remember where I was on 9/11. I was a freshman in undergrad. I was actually lying in bed, when my roommate turned the television on. It didn't really hit me until later that day, the impact of what really happened. I had a friend going to school in NYC at the time, and so I checked to make sure she was okay. Thankfully, she was.

It seems like our country is stuck in this mass PTSD episode. It was a horrible thing that happened. But we've watched our politicians turn it into a political catch phrase, using it to justify wars that seem to never end. Is this really what "not letting the terrorists win" looks like? We continue to treat Muslims - and indeed, many other minority groups - as "outsiders". We assume the worst of all immigrants, whether here legally or not. We continue to use religion as a patriotic litmus test, where if you're one of "them", you're not welcome here. What have we really learned?

Today turned out to be an AMAZING day for me, full of contemplativeness and growth. It showcased what I believe myself - that it's time for us as a nation to move on to the next stage of grief. From anger to acceptance. It's time to actually learn from what has happened, and realize that in order to *truly* not be defeated, we need to put our differences aside, and work together.

My (Christian) church's worship service was an interfaith service today. The youth group of the local synagogue, as well as a prominent member of the local mosque, participated in readings and music to commemorate 9/11 and to promote peace between the faiths. It was at this church service that I found out about the Coastal Interfaith Community's "9-11-2011: An Interfaith Gathering for Peace" event being held at the drama theater one of the local colleges. I, unfortunately was scheduled to work today. However, I have felt increasingly unhappy with work. We continue to be in the news regularly - a former staff went public when my workplace refused to cooperate with him in getting records of trainings (CPR certifications, etc.) for his aid in getting another job, claiming that they terminated him, rather than the reality that he resign on his own after they refused to press charges against clients who assaulted him, injuring in a broken nose; a sister facility recently had a riot in which at least one employee that I know of was injured; and the most recent rumors, which would make a sane person's blood boil, involve firing a lower-level supervisor who refused to fire someone else unjustly, and then bribing kids to make incriminating statements against that supervisor in an effort to greatly damage his future career opportunities and possibly even lead to legal action. As a side note, I have a job interview tomorrow, which I am VERY hopeful about. However, I am also a little concerned, because this interview was originally supposed to occur on August 5th. The interviewer has rescheduled at least 3 times - once because of a family emergency, the rest because of meetings and trainings on her end that "came up". Conversely, I only had to reschedule once, due to orientation for my internship that I had not been aware of, as when I originally scheduled the interview, I had not yet started my internship. However, I think I would be willing to deal with this place's disorganization as long as it works with my class/internship schedule, as worse comes to worse, it would only be until I graduate, and it sure as hell can't be any worse than where I am now. If I don't get it, I seriously think I might quit current job anyways and work somewhere like walmart or target, just to get away from things that are building up that could damage my future career options. I've put up with A LOT from that place. In part because their level of flexibility for school is the one good quality they have. And in part because I don't like feeling like a quitter (it's a familiar theme in my life.... I've also held on to relationships way past their expiration dates because I didn't want to feel like I was giving up). But they are starting to cross lines I can't even begin to remotely justify ignoring in clear conscience.

With all that in mind, I had absolutely no difficulty whatsoever in "calling out sick" and attending the event anyways. And it was a wonderful event. One of the best I'd been to in a long time. Wisdom readings and scriptures were read from 12 different religions - Hinduism, Native American (Lakota, specifically), Unitarian-Universalism, Paganism, Judaism, Yoruba, Buddhism, Secular Humanism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, and Baha'i, all read by a local follower of that particular faith. interspersed throughout were performances by a local African Drum and Dance Troupe, a local Buddhist youth drumming troupe, and a children's youth/theater choir. The choir brought back memories, as they sang a song that we did in my old choir days in undergrad. In all, it brought me a sense of inner peace, at least for the day. And although I'm stressed about the job dilemma, I know in the end things will work out how they should. I didn't come this far to let one job screw me up forever. My time will come.

I will close with the following video. The song was performed by the youth from the synagogue, during the worship service at my church. It's from an Israeli band called "Sheva". Sheva is Hebrew for the number 7, as the band has 7 members. The band is made up of both Jews and Muslims, and their aim is to promote peace between the two religions in their Israel, as well as throughout the world. Their musical styles typically draw from both traditions, as well as from other religious traditions as well. This song is called "Salaam", and it's in a mix of Arabic and Hebrew. The lyrics roughly translate to (source: youtube video):

"Sheva's Od Yavo Shalom Aleynu, the Peace Song

Od yavo' shalom aleinu
Od yavo' shalom aleinu
Od yavo' shalom aleinu
Ve al kulam (x2)

Salaam (Salaam)
Aleinu ve al kol ha olam,
Salaam, Salaam (x2)
"Salaam (Salaam)(ENGLISH)
Peace will come upon us
Peace will come upon us
Peace will come upon us
and on everyone.

Salaam ('peace' in Arabic)
On us and on everyone
Salaam, Salaam"

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