The Deeper Wound
As fate would have it, I was leaving New York on a jet flight that
took off 45 minutes before the unthinkable happened. By the time we
landed in Detroit, chaos had broken out. When I grasped the fact that
American security had broken down so tragically, I couldn't respond
at first. My wife and son were also in the air on separate flights,
one to Los Angeles, one to San Diego. My body went absolutely rigid
with fear. All I could think about was their safety, and it took several
hours before I found out that their flights had been diverted and both
Strangely, when the good news came, my body still felt that it had
been hit by a truck. Of its own accord it seemed to feel a far greater
trauma that reached out to the thousands who would not survive and the
tens of thousands who would survive only to live through months and
years of hell.
And I asked myself, Why didn't I feel this way last week? Why didn't
my body go stiff during the bombing of Iraq or Bosnia? Around the world
my horror and worry are experienced every day. Mothers weep over horrendous
loss, civilians are bombed mercilessly, refugees are ripped from any
sense of home or homeland. Why did I not feel their anguish enough to
call a halt to it?
As we hear the calls for tightened American security and a fierce military
response to terrorism, it is obvious that none of us has any answers.
However, we feel compelled to ask some questions.
Everything has a cause, so we have to ask, What was the root cause
of this evil? We must find out not superficially but at the deepest
level. There is no doubt that such evil is alive all around the world
and is even celebrated.
Does this evil grow from the suffering and anguish felt by people
we don't know and therefore ignore? Have they lived in this condition
for a long time?
One assumes that whoever did this attack feels implacable hatred for
America. Why were we selected to be the focus of suffering around the
All this hatred and anguish seems to have religion at its basis. Isn't
something terribly wrong when jihads and wars develop in the name of
God? Isn't God invoked with hatred in Ireland, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan,
Israel, Palestine, and even among the intolerant sects of America?
Can any military response make the slightest difference in the underlying
cause? Is there not a deep wound at the heart of humanity?
If there is a deep wound, doesn't it affect everyone?
When generations of suffering respond with bombs, suicidal attacks,
and biological warfare, who first developed these weapons? Who sells
them? Who gave birth to the satanic technologies now being turned against
If all of us are wounded, will revenge work? Will punishment in any
form toward anyone solve the wound or aggravate it? Will an eye for
an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and limb for a limb, leave us all blind,
toothless and crippled?
Tribal warfare has been going on for two thousand years and has now
been magnified globally. Can tribal warfare be brought to an end? Is
patriotism and nationalism even relevant anymore, or is this another
form of tribalism? What are you and I as persons going to do about what
is happening? Can we afford to let the deeper wound fester any longer?
Everyone is calling this an attack on America, but is it not a rift
in our collective soul? Isn't this an attack on civilization from without
that is also from within?
When we have secured our safety once more and cared for the wounded,
after the period of shock and mourning is over, it will be time for
soul searching. I only hope that these questions are confronted with
the deepest spiritual intent. None of us will feel safe again behind
the shield of military might and stockpiled arsenals. There can be no
safety until the root cause is faced. In this moment of shock I don't
think anyone of us has the answers. It is imperative that we pray and
offer solace and help to each other.
But if you and I are having a single thought of violence or hatred
against anyone in the world at this moment, we are contributing to the
wounding of the world.