Tuesday, September 11, 2012


"Endure, and keep yourself for days of happiness."
--Virgil, The Aeneid, Book 1

It's been eleven years today.

The anniversary is painfully easy for me to remember-- I simply have to recall my second child's age.

My baby was only a few months old on that shattered morning-- a morning that, for me, started out as any other. 

Rose at dawn with the teeny tiny siren that was my "starving!!" infant daughter, and then hustled my eldest girl off to another day in kindergarten.

Once children were ensconced in school, my next-door-neighbour and I pointed our strollers towards the trail that winds around the pond.  After two kilometers (that baby weight was hard-pressed to melt, I'll tell you), we headed over to our neighbourhood coffee shop.  The littles were fast asleep, wrapped up in cosy blankets, and it seemed as good a time as any to take a rest, ourselves, before continuing the daily routine.

As we eased ourselves into our chairs and wrapped our hands around a couple of mugs of strong decaf, a stranger burst through the door, took three steps into the shop, and changed the world.

"A plane just flew into the World Trade Centre."

That was all he said, before turning and leaving.

You could have heard a pin drop. 

Back home, I began the surreal experience of watching sheer horror unfold, live in front of me on my television screen.

How could it be possible to bear witness the deaths of so many thousands of people-- REAL people-- right in front of my eyes? 

People just like me.  Just like my family.

Like any other parent, that day I wondered what on earth I had done, bringing my innocent children into a world full of such horror and danger and sadness...  How I could have been so selfish...  so naive as to think that I could possibly keep them safe.

But, as New Yorkers and many, many more hundreds of thousands of people around the world proved after the disaster, through their acts of sympathy, generosity and peace:

Together, we're better than all that.

Evil, sadly, has its place-- but it must not define what we believe our world to be.

Instead, we must rise up in the face of that which we abhor, and show the very best of ourselves.

In so doing, we realize what we're made of...  we find out just how much we can endure.

Ubi Caritas
arranged by John Rutter, with The Cambridge Singers

UBI caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor.
Exultemus, et in ipso iucundemur.
Timeamus, et amemus Deum vivum.
Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.
WHERE charity and love are, God is there.
Christ's love has gathered us into one.
Let us rejoice and be pleased in Him.
Let us fear, and let us love the living God.
And may we love each other with a sincere heart.

UBI caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Simul ergo cum in unum congregamur:
Ne nos mente dividamur, caveamus.
Cessent iurgia maligna, cessent lites.
Et in medio nostri sit Christus Deus.

WHERE charity and love are, God is there.
As we are gathered into one body,
Beware, lest we be divided in mind.
Let evil impulses stop, let controversy cease,
And may Christ our God be in our midst.

UBI caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Simul quoque cum beatis videamus,
Glorianter vultum tuum, Christe Deus:
Gaudium quod est immensum, atque probum,
Saecula per infinita saeculorum. Amen.

WHERE charity and love are, God is there.
And may we with the saints also,
See Thy face in glory, O Christ our God:
The joy that is immense and good,
Unto the ages through infinite ages. Amen.

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