CWKThe way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost
-C.S. Lewis, Learning In War-Time
In the months and weeks after 9/11, the most curious feature of American society was not a new found anger; at least, not that I noticed. The most curious fact of American society was a new found tenderness. After 9/11, people spoke more kindly to each other. People held on, more tightly, to those they loved.
Many evils flowed from 9/11, even down to this day. However, one good that followed, albeit indirectly, was a reclaiming of our loves, and a cherishing of our families. After 9/11, we stopped -- at least for a little while -- taking each other for granted.
Husbands made it a priority to rush home from work at the end of the day. Mothers hugged their children more tightly at night. Friends who hadn't seen each other in years made it a point to call, and catch up. The tragedy of 9/11 forced upon us a truth that, while always true, is not always obvious. This truth is the foundation for a life of love; this truth will enable us, if attended to, to love and cherish the people close to us. The reason we do not love and cherish the people in our lives at present is because we live under the delusion that they will always be there. The truth which 9/11 taught us -- the truth we remembered for a little while, was this:
We may, at any moment, lose the one we love.
Aristotle said that two, and only two, things make something dear:
1) It is our OWN.
2) It is our ONLY one.
After 9/11, people suddenly realized that there were people in their lives that they might possibly lose; and these people could not be replaced. They were unique, uniquely ours, our 'one and only's.'
9/11 did not change reality; it forced upon our consciousness a facet of reality that is easy to ignore. Before 9/11, it was always the case that life is precious; it was always the case that we might, in some sudden disaster, lose our loved ones. 9/11 reminded us of something we knew, but suppressed -- the loves of our life may not always be in our lives. We may lose the ones we love.