This is how I feel today. Far away. In Maine, if you are not from here (meaning that your mother's mother was born in this state), you are from away. I will always be from away. But, today I just feel so far away. It really started yesterday when I was struggling to write my sermon for the funeral that I officiated at today. I didn't realize that my own grief about this day was getting in the way. I didn't realize that what was making this endeavor so diffcult might simply be that I'm far from NYC today.
There were no worship services in my area to memoralize the day. There were no churches open for prayer, including the one in which I serve. But, I wanted this. I desparately wanted an intentional space for this kind of prayer. Instead, I held the hands of four daughters who buried their father today while I tried not to convey my own grief. Instead, I stood in the rain and commended this 90 year old man into the earth. Instead, I read Ecclesiastes 3 and wondered what season this was.
I wasn't there when it happened. I was living in London at the time. At 3 PM, I was urged to turn on the TV to see the destruction of my home city. I spent the next several hours trying to assure the safety of my mother who worked in Midtown. She was with friends uptown. She was fine. But, I was scared. And I just wanted to go home. Instead, I went to Italy. On September 12, I wandered the streets of Florence (another home for me) as the reality of this disaster followed me through the streets. I was with my Italian family there. And for the most part, I felt safe and loved. Perhaps this is what I miss today. Perhaps this is what I miss for all of us -- for the Iraqis, Afghanis, Arabs and others who are mistreated because of our country's racist ignorance. Perhaps this is what grieves me today. It all seems so far away. New York is too far. Peace is too far. Understanding is too far. And though it grieves me to say it, hope seems too far away.