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September 11, 2007
Tragedy feels unique when you’re in it: Nothing this bad has ever happened, you think, could ever happen. This is the absolute worst. But the competition for that distinction is stiff. Taking the long view, it would be hard to single out any one day’s horrors as the absolute worst in human history, and little would be gained by doing so. Many a day’s story in this old world has been written in blood. In time, all our jockeying for position in the hierarchy of pain comes to an end. It leads us nowhere.

We move on from everything, no matter how terrible. We are not frozen forever in the worst of our moments; we cannot hold onto any of them, the good or the bad. They all take their place in the past.

No, they don’t! No, they don’t! I won’t let them.

Ah, but you are not in charge of what time does.

I will claim it! By the sheer force of my will, I will stay here!

No. There is no here here. Not any more. It is back there now, behind us.


Oh, beloved! Wait and watch. You will never be forced to give up your memory. I will never take it from you. What has been will always have been; you will always have had what you have had. But I will find ways to soften the raw edges of your grief so that you may live; I will find many ways. And I will heal you of the conviction that to love life again is somehow disloyal to those you have lost.

I don’t believe you can do this, and I don’t even desire it.

I require neither your belief nor your desire to do my work. But I will hold a place for both of them. They will follow you eventually.

I’m not going.

Beloved, we are walking there now, you and I. We have been walking together for a long time. See what a distance we have come already.
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