We Are All Neighbors

Sometimes it still shocks me when I'm talking with someone about 9/11.

I remember being in conversation with a good friend over coffee a few weeks after Sept. 11th, 2001.  Most people I knew were still in shock over the whole thing, recounting where they were when it happened and how they felt about it all.  Even to this day I can recall seeing it on FOX news as it was happening thinking, "we are under attack" even before that concept was even mentioned over the mainstream media.  But I digress...

So in this conversation over ten years ago, I vividly remember my friend saying something I'll never forget- "I don't feel much over this. Why do I care? I don't live in New York.  It hasn't impacted me."  WOW.

All I could do is sit and stare at this person whom I called friend, but yet suddenly feeling like I was sitting with a stranger.  We had such different points of view!  I was speechless.

I've recalled that conversation many times since and wondered how we, as a society, have become so numb to other people's suffering.  Never mind the fact that we may not all live in the same neighborhood, but in the bigger picture of things we- in fact- do.  What impacts you impacts me, because we live in the same "nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."  We are one another's neighbor.

  A man grieves his son at the 9/11 memorial in 2011.

When some 5,000 people lose their lives on our soil, should it move me?  Grieve me?  When I hear of other people's kids going hungry in another U.S. city, shouldn't I be concerned? When someone loses their beloved child to senseless violence, should I not be angered?

Have we become so self-centered that we don't feel other's pain, grief or desperate cries for help?  Are we so enveloped by our own hardships that we can't see or feel what impacts our brother or sister down the street?  We sometimes feel...then forget rather quickly.

This is not a political statement.  Rather, it is a plea to open our hearts to others and when we see a need, well, decide to just do something.  Anything. 

Even if at first it's just to feel. That's a start.

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