September 11, 2001



This was prepared for a grief session with our residents at

Briarcliff Oaks following the multiple tragedies of September 11, 2001.


At 8:45 last Tuesday morning, the world changed forever.

The unimaginable agony and loss of life from the terrorist attacks that morning reached from Manhattan, Washington, DC and rural Pennsylvania to Asia, Europe, South America and Africa - as hundreds of thousands of people with co-workers, friends or family members who worked or were visitors to the World Trade Center or the Pentagon this morning, or who were flight crew or passengers on American or United Air Lines flights this morning, waited in terror and shock with the rest of the world - for the phone call they prayed would not come: that someone near and dear to them was among those lost in these tragedies.

Companies from virtually every country in the world had trade offices in one or the other World Trade Center towers.  We may never know how many were lost, but the anguish - and the costs - for the victims, their families and those close to them, will be horrific and will haunt them the rest of their lives.

I called Bob Brady (my roommate at New York University) Tuesday night.  Bob used to work at the World Trade Center. He lost over thirty friends there, twenty of them worked for one bond firm, Cantor Fitzgerald Securities.  That one firm lost 700 employees.  A neighbor who moved here from New York lost 500 co-workers from her employer there .  One of our Security Guards in Atlanta lost a cousin.  A friend who lives twenty minutes north of Manhattan still cries over all the parents of her children’s friends who were killed .  Several friends from Atlanta now live or commute to work there, all of whom have been emotionally or tragically touched.

Please extend your prayers and thoughts to the families, loved ones and friends of those who perished, those who were injured or emotionally scarred, to those who are missing, and to all those emergency, hospital, investigation and response workers who will struggle with and manage the aftermath for many years to come.  When all our lives have returned to normal, and this becomes a distant memory - please remember to keep the families and survivors in your prayers.  They will still need it.

Perhaps... if anything good is to come of this, it may be to remind everyone on this fragile planet how much we are - now, more than ever before - truly a part of each other.


Perhaps, it may even bring us all a little closer together.



                Let us pray together:


Dear Lord -

Please help us.

Please help and guide all of us.

Please bless each and every precious and innocent person who lost their lives through the tragedies in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania last week.  Please guide their souls in their journey to a greater light and purpose, and give them peace - that their sacrifice was not in vain.

Please support and guide their families through their terrifying and agonizing loss, through their unimaginable desolation and despair, through their tears and loneliness.  Please comfort those husbands and wives who lost their beloved marriage partners and mates; parents who lost the very thing they thought they would never lose, who they would have to hold throughout their lives - their precious children; brothers and sisters who lost their own - cherished brothers and sisters . . .

And, please, especially comfort and walk with the children who lost their parents in those moments of horror.

Please give strength to friends and coworkers in their fear and bewilderment, through their terrible loss.

Please encourage and guide and protect all the many rescue workers - the police and firemen and medical workers and volunteers - through the hazards and the sadness of their bleak and disheartening task.

Please shelter and give strength to those who will do the dangerous work through the weeks ahead of investigating and clearing this carnage.

Please walk with our troops as they seek to insure that never again are precious loving families shattered by the delusions and destruction wrought by extremism and fanaticism.


Forgiveness somehow seems impossible.

Lord, please help us begin to understand forgiveness.  Please help us learn your forgiveness and understanding - that we might begin to heal from the power and strength of your - and our own - unconditional love.

And please let us all learn what might most help and strengthen all of humankind in our own journeys to a greater light and purpose.



               ~  Scott Nilsson

               Atlanta, Georgia - USA /



The Wolves Within

A grandson told of his anger at a schoolmate who had done him an injustice. Grandfather said: "Let me tell you a story."

"I, too, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do. But, hate wears you down and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times.

It is as if there are two wolves inside me: One that is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.

But the other wolf is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights with everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit."

The boy looked intently into his grandfather's eyes and asked, "Which one wins, Grandfather?"

The grandfather solemnly replied, "The one I feed."


~ Forwarded from Ann English, Washington, DC: thank you, Ann.




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