Today is September 11th.
I am not an American. I am not a New Yorker. But I am a human being.
I was born in Poland in 1972 and arrived in Canada in 1985. To be honest, I don’t really feel at home in either country, although both are extremely dear to me.
In Canada, I continue to feel and live the life of a foreigner, and my citizenship card reminds me of that reminds me of that occasionally. I am a mere visitor, without context. I just don’t understand.
In the same way, when I find myself in my beloved Poland, I only feel like a tourist. A linguist or a historian, but a tourist none the less.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I love my Polish roots and I am also grateful for the peace and life I have built in Canada.
I just don’t belong.
I belong to my family. To my wife. To my son. To my daughter.
I belong to my friends, and everyone I meet, that wants me to belong.
I also belong to my aging dog Roscoe. He pretends, out of all the creatures, to truly understand me.
I don’t believe you must be born in a certain place, believe or practice a particular religion, or belong to a specific race or culture, in order to care and love.
Today, I am reminded that all tragedies, of human origin or through natural disasters, great and small, international or personal, all point to the greatness of humanity.
They point to our divine significance.
The terror of September 11th made us heroes.
It didn’t make enemies. They were always there. Hiding. Watching. Loathing.
September 11th, and days like it before and since, created heroes.
Heroes in the first responders. Heroes in the men and women who opened their homes to stranded strangers. Heroes of our neighbours. Heroes to our children.
We do not seek out tragedy and only the sick pursue pain.
But when misfortune strikes at you, there is as much meaning in our tears as there is in our laughter. There is as much truth in Christianity, as there is in Islam, Judaism, or the overlooked spirituality of the Aboriginal nations.
There is as much joy in being gay, as there is in being straight. In being black, as being white. In being young, as being old. In being poor, as being rich.
We need to have faith in humanity.
We need to have faith in each other.
Those crazy mother fuckers that hide and run, and soil themselves with evil, will never understand. Or perhaps someday they will.
If we embrace each other. If we are kind to one another. If we love one another. If we value being human.
Perhaps they will.
But we don’t have to give them anymore of our time.
Heroes live amongst us and they do not wear spandex or need a tragedy in their life to shake them away. Ok. Some wear spandex.
You and I can decide to become heroes.
To stop complaining and start living. To look up, instead of down. To build something, instead tearing at what others are doing.
It is never easy to write on September 11th.
It is easier to remain silent.
We should always examine what it means to be human.
We need to nurture with our hearts, the undeserving faith in broken humanity.