Thursday, September 11, 2008

Quiet Time

On September 11th, it is traditional to have a moment of silence at the hour when planes and gasoline and hell rained down on New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. We stop – just stop – for a moment, and quietly mourn the lost, thank the brave, and pray for strength. That moment of silence is a respite in memory of anguish suffered and sacrifices made, and in tribute to the unity we all felt then. But, the moment is insufficient, because seven years later, we are more divided, more angry, more loud than ever.

We went from standing together to standing against. We grit our teeth, shake our fists, and lay all our problems, pain and fear at the feet of the “other”: the other party, the other race, the other sex, or any other “other” we can nail for what ails us. We are sarcastic, bitter and much too prickly. We are quick to anger, quick to blame, and excruciatingly slow to forgive. We seek a champion for our discontent, when we should be pulling together to solve our problems. We ignore solutions that don’t come from the right source: us. And, the only time we truly look in the mirror is when we are seeking the evil that has to be lurking just over our shoulder.

Maybe we just need more quiet time.

So, I’d like to propose that the 9/11 moment of silence be extended. Let’s have an Hour of Silence. Better still, let’s have a Day of Silence. And, let’s not have it once a year. How about we start out with a Day of Silence every six months, and see how it goes.

During that Day of Silence, let’s all just SHUT THE HELL UP. No arguments, accusations or recriminations. No insults or sarcasm. No attacks and counter-assaults. No sly innuendo. No gossip. No whisper down the lane. No talk shows. No interviews. Gag the pundits. Gag those pundits too. Jesus, where the $%*& are all these pundits coming from? No shouting at each other across picket lines. Spokes-models have a mandatory day off. Opinion-makers can keep it to themselves. Faction-building is on hiatus. Lower the volume on the Special Comments and the sermons and the Shouting-with-Indignity. More Shhh! and less Snark will be the rule of the day. Whatever mean thing you have to say, can wait until tomorrow. Zip the dark stuff.

Just. Be. Quiet.

Listen to the birds sing. Listen to the wind. Listen to the rain drip from the leaves. Listen to the sunset. Hear the lonely whistle of the train in the distance. Smile.

Hell, we’ll even make an exemption for laughing out loud.

Oh, and kids are exempt too. We wouldn’t want to be cruel.


rebecca said...

you are so right that we have lost that feeling of unity we felt in 2001. i suppose the human race is like a family, it fights about things they feel are important to them - the majority of the times it is ego-based, it criticizes, it gossips, it holds anger and resentment. yet, in times of crisis, we find all of it to be inconsequential and pull together, united as one, to protect, love and honor our own. and it is sad, that as families we do tend to do that, as friends we tend to do that, as a community of the world we tend to do that. i'm with you. we need more moments, hours and days of silence to find our center of peace and hear ourselves think and feel from our heart, which is always filled with peace, love and understanding.

this was a great piece fe. i also wrote a piece on september 11.

Lori Skoog said...

Fe....well put as usual. McCain and Obama are going to be quiet ads, no blasting away. They are both going to be in New York...together. A good move.

Did you see Letterman last night?

The calendar is on the way.

CoyoteFe said...

Rebecca - We are like a family, aren't we. Let's avoid the unifying tragedies and crises and just hammer it out over the holiday dinner table like normal people! Also, if we are quiet, we have a better opportunity to listen. Yeah.

CoyoteFe said...

Lorelai -

There seemed to have been a modicum of civility today, yes?
Thanks for sending the calendar!

Spartacus Jones said...

It will not surprise you to know that I have a word or two to say on this subject.

But in honor of your point, I will take this opportunity to say



San said...

Brilliant idea, Fe. And the soothing water and bird sounds that accompany this post put me in the mood for your proposal.

Ten or so years ago I was at a spiritual retreat in which we practiced silence for a day. It was at first rather spooky. The aloneness factor was enhanced. Then it became quite peaceful. Yes. If we all did this from time to time, for an extended period, and more frequently than every ten years, the world would have to become a better place.

CoyoteFe said...

San - If there's one thing we are in no danger of over-consuming, it's silence!

Anil P said...

Silent enough to hear us breathe, maybe then we can hear what the heart has to say.

CoyoteFe said...

anil p:
It is a gift we can give ourselves.

Thanks for visiting!

White Rose said...

I found your blog through Rebecca, Just a Thought. And I'm so glad I did. I throughly enjoyed what I've read here.

CoyoteFe said...

White Rose - Thank you for dropping by! I love Rebecca's blog. It's never "Just a Thought". I'm glad you enjoyed your visit. Return any time.