Monday, September 13, 2010

The Blessings of a Crisis

Nobody welcomes a crisis. Crises are usually negative events, causing suffering and upheaval. Yet, a crisis can be a catalyst for positive changes. This was the case in the weeks following 9-11.

After the devastation of 9-11, Americans came together in mutual grief and a spirit of cooperation. There was a sense that "we're in this together." The partisan politics of congress was transformed into unanimous passage of legislative bills relating to 9-11. Courtesy replaced road rage on our highways. American flags became as commonplace as mailboxes. Compassion, courage and cooperation reigned.

But look where we are nine years later. The solemn 9-11 observances were marred by protests for and against an Islamic Cultural Center being built in lower Manhattan. A lunatic Florida pastor threatened to burn the Qu'ran. Congress is as divided as it has ever been.

I know we can't go back to those days after 9-11, but can we go forward to find ways to work together for common purposes? I hope it won't take another crisis to remind Americans that we have a common good to pursue and common goals to work on. Actually, we have suffered a crisis in the form of the Great Recession. Where is the compassion, courage and cooperation that we so desperately need? I believe these spiritual values are within each of us. However, we need to reclaim them and put them into action.

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