I arrived home last night at 9:45 PM, having given a pint of blood which was flown to New York this morning by the American Red Cross. I don’t enjoy giving blood. But there are situations, like my father’s bypass surgery and the tragedy in New York, that move me outside my comfort zone. Solidarity and mutual aid with those who suffer are two of my core values. It was the least I could do.
It was also hard to imagine the events of yesterday, as I went out on my morning run today • with the sun shining and a fresh breeze blowing. There is, in life, a certain mercy that comes with the rising of the sun on a new day. May this be a better day for all.
Yesterday was a hard, horrific day. The news media as well as many coaches flew into action. As the day went on, I received about as many reflections on the news as I received news reports. People will be processing this one for years to come.
One of the organizations to which I belong, the Christian Coaching Network, organized an emergency coaching response team. I was happy to lend my name to the cause. They have notified 500 media outlets about their coordination of free coaching opportunities, to assist people through this difficult time. Feel free to give me a call, in the United States at 757-345-3452, if you want to talk.
As part of the healing / reflection process, I would offer the following remarks and invite you to reply. With more than 9,000 subscribers in 65 countries, this community of readers can share ideas and offer support in unique and wonderful ways. As they come in, I promise to put selected ones together in next Sunday’s newsletter. Many are stronger than one.
That said, here are my opening remarks, many of which I have not read elsewhere.
1. We begin, of course, with an expression of solidarity and compassion for the victims. There has been a great disturbance in the unity and sanctity of life, as so many lives went up in smoke. There is no way to get those lives back. One can only feel the pain and lift it up to the Great One. I’m afraid there are tears this day, in both heaven and earth.
2. We move on to the recognition that violence begets violence. The killing did not start yesterday and it will not stop yesterday. The United States is sure to retaliate. What else can it do other than to show the world that it will not sit idly by in the face of such attacks? From there the spiral of violence will continue to grow. I am reminded of Dorothy Day’s remark, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth make for a sightless and toothless world.” Until we get this truth, the spiral will continue.
3. Violence takes many forms. It is not just overt acts of deadly force, such as we saw yesterday in New York, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania. It also takes the form of injustice, oppression, racism, and economic exploitation. People suffer and die everyday in this world as a result of these forms of institutional violence. And, from time to time, the victims of such violence strike back. Until we get this truth, the spiral will continue.
4. Yesterday’s acts of terrorism were not just “cowardly, senseless acts of violence.” They were “cowardly,” because the victims had no way to defend themselves. And they were “senseless,” because they will not stop the spread of US policies or multinational corporations around the globe. But, from their perspective, these were premeditated, purposeful, and courageous acts of violence. Their people worked long and hard to pull off a very effective operation in which 3 out of 4 planes reached their targets. At great personal sacrifice and with a definite design, they attempted to make a point. And they fully expect US retaliation. Until we get this truth, the spiral will continue.
5. None of this is to justify or condone yesterday’s despicable acts. It is only to put them into the larger perspective of history, politics, and society. These terrible things did not happen in a vacuum. The United States is not isolated from the positions and postures it takes in the world. If we had any doubt about that before, we should not now. Violence anywhere is violence everywhere. Until we get this truth, the spiral will continue.
6. But there is, even in the midst of this God-awful tragedy, another voice that can and must be heard. It is the voice of those who care, love, and yearn for the truth. It is the voice of those who emerge from the ruin and the rubble with heroic acts of kindness and even more heroic hearts. It is the voice of those who see beyond the pain, violence, and chaos to a day when this too shall have passed away until all God’s children live in peace.
So I close by bringing to you such a voice in this short poem by the contemporary Irish poet, Derek Mahon. Mr. Mahon lives in a country that knows all too much about violence and injustice. He is no stranger to the terror of yesterday. And yet somehow, as one who knows a truth that explodes more forcefully than even a fully loaded jet-liner into a skyscraper, Mr. Mahon looks upon that horizon and proclaims, “Everything Is Going to Be All Right”
How should I not be glad
to contemplate the clouds
clearing beyond the dormer window
and a high tide
reflected on the ceiling.
There will be dying,
there will be dying,
but there is no need to go into that.
The poems flow
from the hand unbidden
and the hidden source
is the watchful heart.
The sun rises in spite of everything
and the far cities
are beautiful and bright.
I lie here in a riot of sunlight
watching the daybreak
and the clouds flying.
Everything is going to be all right.
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
President, LifeTrek Coaching International, www.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformation, www.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coaching, www.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a Time, Online Retailers
Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
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