It’s a strange but common way we comfort one another on days of sacred memorial like today, we ask, “Where were you?” On September 11, 2001 unlike some mommas I knew who were actually in labor when the terrible news began to arrive, my first labor and delivery had recently passed. I was home and already beginning to figure out the ropes of what it meant to be a parent when we saw the chilling scenes come across our tv. It was a helpless feeling sitting at home taking it all in, we went for a walk that day, my newborn and I.
We went for a walk today too, twenty years later. I remember what my six children can’t but I tell them the story, and they remember that.
September 11, 2021, today, we went down to the river. It’s a tradition every year between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur that as we walk we either bring paper to write out things it’s time to let go of or we grab a leaf or a piece of driftwood or a big heavy rock, they are symbols of casting away that which we are turning away from. Coming to the river is a symbol of the lovingkindness of the One we are turning to. In the Jewish tradition it’s a whole ceremony (Tashlich) for us it’s a little one but meaningful in our world, and one of the best things we started to do when our kiddos were young. Today being the sabbath that falls within the “ten days of awe” it is called the sabbath of returning—shabbat shuva.
As we prepared we paused and stood in a circle and asked the question Elohim asked Adam and Chavah (Eve) and that I think is the best question ever;
“Where are you?”
We took turns speaking our hearts out loud, remembering how Yeshua said, “…if you are offering your gift at the altar and remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23-24) Whew, this is heavy, it takes some time and some care. It’s a little helpless feeling, I was glad when we were able to go for our walk.
Some burned notes and let the ashes be carried away in the water, others screamed as they flung their rock, some found leaves that drifted light and seemed to sing a song. All were born new, as we remembered and we proclaimed, Messiah is risen, Messiah is in us, and Messiah will come again. How we need Him.
Where are you?
I’m a writer and photographer sharing my journey, currently writing through the ten days of awe:
first post: may you know you are held
second post: may you know flight
third post: may you be nurtured in your grief
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