Sunday, September 11, 2011

Yoda is so wise

Flags lined the streets of our neighbourhood yesterday. The scouts put them up a day early out of respect for the Sabbath, I suppose, but it was certainly a good reminder about the tragic events we're remembering today. Rachel and I had a conversation about 9/11 because when she saw the flags up she wanted to know what holiday we were celebrating and was confused when I told her we weren't exactly celebrating anything.

"Why are the flags up, then?" she asked.

"To help us remember," I told her.

"Remember what?" she asked.

"Well, ten years ago some angry and misled people stole some planes and crashed them into some big buildings in New York—by the Statue of Liberty—and the buildings fell down and a lot of people died."

"Why did they do that?!" she asked.

"They did it to make us afraid—because they were angry. We call them terrorists because their only reason for doing it, really, was to make us feel scared, to make us feel terrified."

"Did it work?"

"It did. We were all very scared for days because later another plane crashed into an important building in Washington, DC."

"Where Daddy went last year?"

"Where Daddy went last year. And then another plane went missing but they just crashed on the ground because the brave people on the plane decided that was better than crashing into another building and killing more people. We weren't sure we were ever going to be safe again."

"But we're safe now."

"Yes, we're safe now, but we need to always remember to be kind to others and to try to understand people we disagree with. I think that's what we're supposed to remember—the power of fear and hatred and anger. The only way we can fight those things is with faith and love and charity."

My mom came over yesterday and Rachel summarized 9/11 for her in one sentence, "My mom says the flags are up because a loooooong time ago some bad men crashed some planes into some buildings and a lot of people died."

I could have done with out the "loooooong time ago" part but I think it was a fairly accurate summary for a four-year-old. I hope she understands the part about loving others someday. Yoda keeps coming to mind. You know, when he says, "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."

Yoda is so wise.

The inverse of his statement is equally as true. Faith is the path to the light side. Faith leads to understanding. Understanding leads to love. Love leads to charity. And charity "suffereth long and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Chairty never faileth..."

I think Yoda explained how the 9/11 attacks happened. Someone's fear ultimately led to suffering. But we have the opportunity to change that suffering into charity. The suffering our nation was caused planted a seed of fear in our hearts. But we can choose to turn away from fear and instead increase our faith in God. We can seek to understand those we may fear (this is a big reason Andrew has studied the Middle East for as long as he has—he is not alone). Instead of blaming others for what happened we can learn to love others. And ultimately, instead of achieving suffering, we'll have achieved charity (which seems like a favorable thing to be striving for).


  1. Beautifully written. Although I wouldn't have guessed 9/11 post from a Yoda title. Sometimes I need to be better at explaining things like this to Michael. Instead he just thought we were watching a movie when we've watched various things today.

  2. I love this post. And the way you've explained 9/11 here. I struggled with the way it was discussed on Sunday....and I thought of you.