Words to live by ten years after and always

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. — Luke 6.32-36 NRSV

Does my way of life cause deep pain to others? The bits and pieces that make up the cellphone on which I write these words, for example, or the choice to drive rather than walk to the library that’s about a mile from my house, or the plenty I have and take for granted while others live in want and worse. These are questions worth asking today.

I’m married to somewhat of a skeptic when it comes to significant anniversaries. Celebrating or commemorating an event because it’s the 10th year or 25th is no more meaningful to him than the 7th or 23rd, or the 3.14th for that matter, although on our 25th anniversary he did allow that we had been together a good long while. And on the commemoration of this day I am sympathetic to him. We live with the memory every day, year in and out.

So it has been jarring, seemed odd and pointless, and at times more than a little annoying to listen to the media hype leading up to today. We were there. We remember. We walked by photos of the missing and ruined monuments of memorial candles and flowers daily, everywhere we went. We hustled our Kindergartener past a man on his way to work wearing a gas mask in the subway weeks after. We lived with the stench of the burning for months. We are revisited with dread when military jets fly over even now.

It seems pointless to dwell on these things year after year without also asking ourselves this: Does how we live cause others to live with constant sorrow, fear or dread? And what must we do, how must we change to better that? Because as much as I love being able to send this out to a few readers from my cellphone, it is not worth the cost if for one minute it means someone somewhere suffers so that I can.

The best thoughts I’ve heard on the events of 11 September, the words that have resonated with me more than any other, have repeatedly been those that emphasized love, forgiveness and mercy. I believe therein lies the way of great courage and peace. “…love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.” Dare we?


About pattiblaine

Raised under the name of Snyder in the upstate NY town of Vestal, I've worked as a typesetter, a fast food salad bar tender, an art reviewer, a waitress, a part-time nanny, and a very-bad-with-phones temp. Once upon a time I was all-but-thesis toward a Masters in Art History. Now I'm just a mom with a lot of fiber squirreled away throughout the house. We call it insulation. In 2013 I completed a life-long learning program at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and am a postulant toward the diaconate in the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, NY. In addition to coordinating volunteers for the soup kitchen, I volunteer as a tutor at a deeply impoverished city elementary school, and am a docent at the Memorial Art Gallery.
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2 Responses to Words to live by ten years after and always

  1. dutch margreet says:

    Dear Patti, I read your comment at YH. What an unsatisfying experience you have had 14 years ago that it still smarts so much. My first one was delivered at the hospital via suction interference while i started homebirthing happily. But, I later learned, a passed on familiything (no total open cerv-ix mouth with the firstborn) made it necesary to make my “got stuck” baby technically delivered. When I sam him move his pinky I knew he was alive. My second was delivered at home, because the problem was solved. First one is highly intelligent, second very intelligent. I feel so sorry that you do not, just like me, feel how important those months of pregnancy have been for your child and you, how wanting to give birth naturally was your wish, denied you by medical people or health circumstances. I cried of happines for Marlowe, jen and YH, I cry for your sad feelings. But I strongly feel You have Not failed at any step of your delivery experience one little bit. Would you please consider giving yourself a big hug for those nine months and all your good intentions and congratulate yourself for being the mom who wished it could have happened differently and forgiving that it happened not the way you would have wanted. Hugs and kisses, now I am going to congratulate Jen etc,, Margaret.

    • pattiblaine says:

      Dear Margaret, Thank for this. The experience is something that time and distance have made less sharp, but YH’s post about the strength gained by the women who’ve passed through it naturally resonated strongly with me and dragged up a lot of the leftover regret and … a little guilt that I hadn’t better educated myself about the medical practices of the hospital we chose, etc. Immediately after she was born (emergency c-section in the end) I resolved that her early life would be far more natural and moved my own mountains to make breast-feeding happen. No pun intended. 🙂 Thank you and xoxo to you too!

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