Then for a little levity, we joked about the devastating effects of the East Coast earthquake http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPL4UHRjuy8.
Then the Susquehanna River and its tributaries flooded with tropical Storm Lee.
Today we're listening to the stories that emerged from the smoldering ruins of the World Trade Center, the crash of Flight 93, and the assault on the Pentagon that took place on September 11, ten years ago.
For weeks now we've been listening as people tell their stories...chronicles of devastation, tragedy, and grief. Innocent lives have been lost, homes destroyed, and businesses ruined.
We've heard stories of courage, self-sacrifice, and heroism. Emergency responders have worked tirelessly, and friends and neighbors have pitched in to help.
We have been touched by acts of kindness and compassion. Food and water have been shared. Even lost and homeless pets have been rescued and sheltered.
And we have revisited 9/11 in the words of the survivors.
But for the grace of God, any of us could be telling these stories. They serve to remind us that we are all vulnerable, that life is fragile, that everything can change in a heartbeat. Likewise, they attest to our strength, resilience, and generosity.
It has been a very good month for storytelling, indeed.
But if you are thinking, "Enough already. I can't bear to hear another word about fires or floods, about devastation and despair. I've had all I can take of 9/11," then you should turn off your TV, and sign out of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Instead, take a walk outdoors and reflect on the fact that your house is still standing, that your children are safe, that the power is on, and your toilets still flush. Or, pick up a good book to read, a story you enjoy...
...because the stories we hear, the stories we read, and the ones we tell connect us, heart and soul, with all who suffer, all who labor, and all who triumph. Through them we are all part of the great story arc we call "life".
What is your story?
"I think that these difficult times
have helped me understand better than before
how infinitely rich and beautiful
life is in every way
and that many of the things one goes around
worrying about are of
no importance whatsoever."
Barring any further earthquakes, floods, or hurricanes, next week at this time we'll be settling in at the beach for a week of reading, writing, and reflection. Wish us luck!