WHO ARE THE LOST ONES?
America knows how to mourn. It knows how to participate with honor and compassion in the suffering of others. It knows how to share in that pain and make it easier. Now, a new definition of who is ‘lost to us’ must take place...
America mourns today in an outburst of collective mourning for the many who were lost on Sept. 11th, 2001, and the many more whose lives were altered forever by the events of that day. The collective sorrow and the widespread honoring is a partial balm for the hearts of those who still grieve.
Yet, the lost ones are many more than those lost on Sept. 11th. They are the forgotten ones who suffer on a daily basis who do not know how they will survive another day or how they will feed their children. They are the youth who have lost hope in being able to find work, and who turn to a life that is of a different, less moral nature as a result. They are those who feel that they have no chance to emerge from the poverty they have lived with, and who do not even see past their own dire circumstances to the concerns of the rest of the world.
America knows how to mourn. It knows how to participate with honor and compassion in the suffering of others. It knows how to share in that pain and make it easier. Now, a new definition of who is ‘lost to us’ must take place so that the extension of compassion is not just for the citizens of this country but for the citizens of the human family, here and elsewhere, who suffer in an ongoing way, and often just as deeply.
Within America, the period of outer mourning and recollection is generally limited for those who honor this tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11th event. It is likely that the mourning period could not go on any longer since people need to get back to what they consider to be ‘their’ lives. A time-defined period in which to grieve is therefore appropriate for those whose lives are still ‘their’ own.
But what if the heart were larger than this? What if the caring and grieving for other lost ones were part of ‘my’ life as it is of ‘theirs.’ What if compassion for the lost ones were part of our everyday life, until such time as it could be changed? What if prayer for the lost ones were equally part of our everyday consciousness. Then the period of awareness would extend into an unknown time period, for in the oneness of sharing the common lot, we would be with the circumstances of pain for as long as it took in order for it to be relieved.
This would be an unthinkable task and not one that could easily be accepted if it were undertaken without God, for the human self would tend to feel crushed under the weight of the suffering of the lost ones. Yet, with God, one can hold this pain with the love that is God’s love, and one can hold in trust the redemption of all that is lost. Thus, one brings love and hope to the pain of the lost ones, and the desire to help carry the burden, even if only a little bit.
This is what has been done so beautifully and so proudly by Americans everywhere on this Sept. 11th anniversary. It is a tribute to America’s heart and to America’s conscience that so many can feel so much for the tragedies that affected a much smaller number. Now, we must let that great heart and that great conscience apply itself to those others who belong to us as well, that they, too, may be uplifted by our prayers and that they, too, may feel us standing with them. They belong to us, and this realization must become the new standard by which we operate and by which the world operates, in order that the lost ones, everywhere, shall be found.