Posted by: Michelle Knoll | September 12, 2016

Why We Never Forget

Yesterday was the anniversary of the attack on New York on September 11, 2001. On that day, two commercial jets flew into the World Trade Center towers, and another one flew into the Pentagon.

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Image courtesy of Stock Unlimited, http://www.stockunlimited.com

I remember watching the news that morning, and feeling the strongest sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I wasn’t afraid for the small town we were living in at the time, but I was gravely concerned for our country, and wondered what was going to happen next.  I have to admit, my thoughts did turn to the idea of war on our own soil.

 

I remember driving to Washington some time after that, and going by the Pentagon, and seeing the devastation there. As we drove by, my heart was filled with heaviness. We returned back home in silence.

Our younger son asked me yesterday afternoon why we don’t forget tragedies such as 9-11. We had been grocery shopping and were pushing the buggy to the car when he asked, “Mom? Why all the talk about 9-11? Why don’t we just forget about it?” Our younger son is a special abilities kid, and he doesn’t like sadness or things that bring on feelings of sadness, not at all. So I took my time in answering, looking to formulate my  thoughts in a way that he could grab hold of, and understand. Finally, I came up with these words:

“We never forget, Son, so we will always remember to stand against the threat of terrorism. We use this tragedy to remind us that the world isn’t always good, and we must be vigilant against the threats of evil.”

He responded, “vigilant?”

“Yes, Son. Vigilant.”

I didn’t go into a long, drawn out discussion about all this. However, during the drive home, I thought about it a lot. And I realized something.

When the world is fine, and the days are sunny, and everything seems to be going right, people relax. They aren’t afraid to be critical of others, be judgmental of others, or say rude and ugly things about other people.  People talk smack about opposing teams, just because they can. People write mean and hateful tweets or Facebook posts, just because they can. People rail against politicians, and berate political candidates, just because they can. When the world seems right and the day is bright, people can be very, very selfish and self-righteous. And prejudice can prevail. I’m not saying it prevails everywhere all the time, but it can prevail. And it can be felt and heard and seen.

We forget to be vigilant. We’re not careful, not watchful. We’re not careful with our words, we’re not watchful over our actions, we’re not vigilant and on the lookout for danger.

However, when deep tragedy strikes, prejudice fades away. Hearts move from selfishness to giving, from pride to humility. When horrifying pictures splash across the computer screen, the TV screen, the smart phone screen, mouths that were speaking strong criticism and judgment suddenly go silent, and eyes that were narrowed with hatred are opened wide with compassion.

We are suddenly vigilant. Opinions don’t matter any more; people’s lives do. Criticisms aren’t important any more, communities matter. Life becomes more real, and we are more careful with what we say, what we do, and how we think. And we are on the lookout for danger in any and all forms.

There’s no talk of racial differences when a community falls prey to a raging flood. Hands reach across muddy waters to rescue those in need, no matter what their skin looks like. There’s no talk of political preference when a community falls prey to a violent tornado. Hands reach in with flashlights and water and first aid to help those who have lost homes in the horror of screaming winds, no matter what their political affiliation is. There’s no talk of LGBT or religious differences when a community falls pray to the evil of madmen. Hands reach out to hold shattered people, when planes fly into tall buildings, and change our lives forever.

Because when deep tragedy strikes, we remember who we are. We are a nation, a people, one, united, all red-blooded, all human, all fragile, all very much aware that life is a gift, and we aren’t guaranteed any certain number of days on this planet. When deep tragedy strikes, we are faced with our own mortality, and our hearts open wide to comfort those who have met mortality face to face through losing a loved one.

We are vigilant.

But to be vigilant, we must remember.

We remember because there is evil in the world.  Not all are evil. But some are truly evil, and they cause tragedy of the worst kind: premeditated, purposed, calculated evil that carries not one drop of remorse. Much like Galvatron in the last Transformers movie, they “have no fear.” And why is that? Optimus Prime said it clearly: because they “have no soul.” Their souls are devoid of feeling, so their thoughts are filled with evil continually.

And so, because of those that are devoid of soul and filled with evil, we vow to be vigilant, never to forget. To stand against their wickedness, and to stand for all that is good and right and honorable. To honor those who have fallen in the line of duty, to remember those who were taken from us too soon, to think about our own selves and our own lives and what we’re doing with the time that we have, to see ourselves and our human condition more clearly. We remember, and we choose not to forget. And we determine that it will never happen again. With all that is in our power, we choose to stand vigilant.

But when the days are easy, and the sun is shining, let us still be vigilant. Against the evil in the world, but also against the evil in our own words, and actions, and thoughts. Let us remain vigilant so the we can remain a nation, a people, one, united. Let us never forget that we are all human, all fragile, all red-blooded, all facing a mortality that every one will one day answer to.

Life’s too short to forget.

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Michelle Knoll | August 30, 2016

Why Celebrate?

I just saw something that just… well, it hit me so oddly, I almost don’t know what to say.

However, I think I do know what to say. But this is off the cuff, so if this hits you the wrong way, or an odd way, then please let me know.

An acquaintance of mine on Facebook has obviously gotten divorced.  I don’t know any of the circumstances surrounding the situation, so I can’t judge the person and say something self-righteous, such as “well, you shouldn’t have gotten divorced!” Maybe they should have, you know? And the announcement that the divorce was final wasn’t what bothered me, because, like I said, maybe they should have. Maybe things were so awful that divorce was truly the only option.

However, it was the tone of the announcement, and the actual words that were used.

Granted, the post was made by a friend of the divorced man (my acquaintance), so the man really didn’t have any control over what was said. But the friend said “finally celebrating the divorce of….”

Finally?? Seriously?

You were waiting on this to happen, as if it couldn’t happen soon enough? Why would you yearn for two people to tear their lives apart? Especially if there are children involved? Why would you wish that on someone? Why aren’t you sad that they couldn’t work things out? Why are you relishing this?

Celebrating???

This hit me, you know, just right between the eyes. You’re celebrating? Celebrating? The ending of something that was meant to be beautiful, and long-lasting, and heartwarming, and joyful, even with its ups and downs? You’re celebrating the ripping apart of heartstrings that had been woven together for quite some time. Why?  WHY??? What in the world is cause for celebration over such a tragedy?

The picture with the post was of people having dinner at a restaurant, toasting the event. I mean, it just… wow. I don’t even really know this person. I assisted him with some video editing years ago, and we haven’t kept in touch, so, like I said, I really don’t know what has gone on in his life and why the divorce was necessary.

But to celebrate over it? Because it has finally happened?

That’s like celebrating over the fact that you finally had to put down your family pet who’s been sick for some time.

“Whew! Glad that’s over with! Let’s go get some dinner, gang!”

That’s like celebrating over the fact that you accidentally cut off your finger with a power tool.

“Dang, I’m glad THAT thing’s gone! It was giving me fits! Hey, let’s order pizza and beer!”

Folks, divorce is DEATH. That’s exactly what it is, whether it is needful or not. Some people can’t work out their problems no matter how hard they try, and so divorce is the only answer.  Some people don’t want to work out their problems, and so divorce ends up being the only way out. But divorce isn’t clean, no matter how well the prenup was written. Divorce is always, always, always messy, because two hearts that had become one, and had trusted each other and had leaned on each other, and had LOVED each other, are now being pulled apart and torn apart, and jagged edges remain.

Have you ever tried to rip apart a woven piece of cloth? Try it. Pick up a sheet made of sturdy cotton, that isn’t completely worn out, and try to rip it in two. “Yeah, but the edge is hemmed, which makes it hard to get the rip started.”

Exactly.

Marriage is like that sheet, the cloth with the hem that holds things in securely. The only reason it’s gotten to the stage of divorce is because someone didn’t take care of the hem, and things are frayed to the point that the cloth is weak.

Let me say it again: divorce is DEATH. And we should never, ever rejoice over divorce.  Divorce hurts! Divorce is painful! Divorce may be necessary, it may the only way out, but it should be a time for reflection and contemplation and grief over the loss.  Not forever grief, no. But a time of grief, which is part of the healing process when losing a loved one.

And yes, when a person goes through a divorce, he or she has lost a loved one. Granted, he may have hated the person by the time he got to the stage of divorce, but at one time in his life, he loved that person. And he needs to grieve the loss. And he needs to reflect and think about how the marriage got so sickly that it ended up with only one way out.

Besides, even though God allowed divorce in His Word, He hates divorce.  He grieves over it. It’s a very sad moment for Him, even if the only option is to get a divorce. It’s still sad for Him to watch lives get torn apart. Even if one spouse was confirmed to be crazy by medical diagnosis, and the other spouse shouldn’t be living with that person at all. He still grieves over the pain the divorce causes. Two lives must be rebuilt, and sometimes the bouncing back isn’t easy at all. It’s certainly not a time for a party, even if someone thinks that’s what they want at the time.

To me, the comment was so distasteful and so… well, I can’t think of another word. But it also speaks of the turning of attitude in this country. We are cold now. So cold that we can toss people and hearts aside like old, worn out shoes. “Ding dong, the wicked witch is… well, you know!”

Look, friend of divorced man, I don’t care how bad she was. She was a real human being, just like you. And she has feelings, just like you. And you wouldn’t be too happy if someone called you a wicked witch. Or a son of a bitch. Or a damned fool. So you’ve got no right to be railing against someone like that, and especially not in public. I don’t care if she seems crazy to you. I don’t care if she really is crazy. Have some decency, please!

Okay. Rant cafe closed. No lol’s tonight. I’m just gonna go and sit and think and ponder on just how far we’ve come as a people. Or maybe how far we’ve fallen behind.

 

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