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​Spiritual Friday: September 11

“Refuse to fall down.
If you cannot refuse to fall down,
refuse to stay down.
If you cannot refuse to stay down,
lift your heart toward heaven,
and like a hungry beggar,
ask that it be filled.
You may be pushed down,
You may be kept from rising.
But no one can keep you
from lifting your heart
toward heaven-
only you. It is in the middle of misery
that so much becomes clear.
The one who says nothing good
came of this,
is not listening.”

- Clarrissa Pinkila Estes

“The things that happen to us do not matter, what we become through them does.” – Yogananda

Our Spiritual Friday meeting on September 11 was somber, reflective, grateful, hopeful, sacred, raw, and honest. We started by talking about September 11, 2001. One of our spiritual leaders, Linda, was vacationing in NYC with her family that day. She shared her experience, strength, and hope. I shared how I was in NYC on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, how the city was overflowing with people – people who didn’t know each other and yet, there was so much love and beauty. There were white ribbons everywhere that had prayers on them as well as words of gratitude and remembrance. They were tied around everything from stop signs to fences, from church doors to taxi cab side mirrors; it was beautiful. Every church was open and there was sacred music playing everywhere. Tragedy to blessing, darkness to light.

We spoke of life and how precious it is. We remembered one patient who had overdosed that week. Many of the patients knew him. It was important to acknowledge no life is a waste. I asked: How committed are you to your recovery? To your life? We lit candles in memory and in love for many, including the patient and all those who left us on 9/11/2001. One patient lit a candle for a baby daughter who died. He said he hadn’t shared that for so long – “I felt safe today to say it.”

Some of the questions we asked the patients in small group were:

  • Do you feel a part of something bigger than you today?
  • How can your life honor another life?
  • How can we change the way we look at things?
  • Is your outlook on life changing?

I played “Like It’s The Only One You’ve Got” by Three Doors Down: “Your mistakes do not define you, they tell you who you’re not… how do you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been?”

Our last reading was really profound. It was by Chanie Gorkin, an 11th grader from Brooklyn.

Today was the absolute worst day ever
And don’t try to convince me that
There’s something good in every day
Because, when you take a closer look,
This world is a pretty evil place.
Even if
Some goodness does shine through once in a while
Satisfaction and happiness don’t last.
And it’s not true that
It’s all in the mind and heart
True happiness can be attained
Only if one’s surroundings are good
It’s not true that good exists
I’m sure you can agree that
The reality
My attitude
It’s all beyond my control
And you’ll never in a million years hear me say
Today was a very good day

**Now read it from the bottom to top, the other way,
And see what I really feel about my day.


Have a beautiful week!

Reverend Laurie Durgan