It is gray and rainy here today.
That day, it was sunny, with a blue, cloudless sky that seemed to go on forever.
Today I am working from home, still in my pajamas, if truth be told.
That day, I was downtown, two blocks from the White House, walking briskly from the gym to the office as planes hit the buildings.
Today I am pastoring a parish of 150 souls, preaching, teaching, praying with and for them, offering the grace of the sacraments, and thinking of the pain and joy in their lives, and how best to support them in those lives with God's help.
That day, I was thinking about a way to block legislation that would be problematic for my company's business model. I was earning a salary that was a significant multiple of what I now earn. I had on a suit and high heels, and I was a force to be reckoned with in my industry.
Today, I am not a force anymore. I am, more aptly, a pillow, or a shoulder, or an ear. People cry there, share their fears and hopes, rage against disease or injustice or hatred. I am the receiver of the gift of confidences, the safe place to share that which is inherently unsafe.
That day, I was oblivious of what had happened,
until I saw the television turned on to the news in the conference room, the column of black smoke rising on the horizon south of the office,
until - evacuated from our office building - I drove over the bridge minutes before all auto traffic over the bridge was stopped,
until I saw the black, charred, smoking maw on the side of the Pentagon, and the firetrucks and the newstrucks and the people walking, walking, walking,
until I got home and could not get a working phone line to our corporate offices, could not get my daughter out of school because authorities thought it was safer for them to stay there, could not reach my sons,
until I watched the towers fall on the television, repeated over and over again.
Today I share the less dramatic but no less potent tragedies and victories of a smaller country, the country of my parish, and I try not to be oblivious. Tears fall as the rain falls. The rain falls in sympathy with our own tears, and cools our fevered conversations.
We remember this date, and the people who died, and those who are still grieving and will still grieve, and the place in the heart that was damaged forever by the events and the rage and the revenge.
Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.