We as a nation, and we as human beings across this world, have experienced
a terrible shock, one that we will not get over for a long, long time. For some of
us, the grief and sorrow are on a very personal level if we had friends or family
who are among the casualties of this act by persons as yet unknown. Some of us are
effected merely because an event of this magnitude does touch us all as children
of the Goddess.
Whenever there is a disaster, a war, an event of nature, we feel grief for the victims...but fear for ourselves is often missing because we can feel that it is far away, or that we can plan for the next one so that we are safe from it. This feeling of being in "control" of our lives is very important to our emotional well-being. But yesterday's senseless tragedy robs us of this sense of security. It **CAN** happen here, it **CAN** happen anywhere and at anytime. And while we might put security measures in place to diminish the risk of another such attach, the sad truth is that there is no way to completely protect yourself from someone who is willing to die to make a political point. And this sudden knowledge of our own vulnerability can have a very serious psychological impact on each of us. That is why terrorism exists and is so effective.
So in the next days, weeks, and months it is important that we do what we can to deal with the images of the past terrible hours. And that healing needs to begin right at home.
Understand that these images, disturbing as they are to us, are even more so to our small children who haven't the cognitive ability yet to understand what is happening, but who are frightened by the images and by the response they see in our faces. Be aware of the impact you may be having on these little ones. Much as we all seem to be glued to the TV set, limit the amount of news footage that the kids are seeing. Particularly pay attention when they say that images may be disturbing. If the sight of falling bodies and burning buildings upset you, think what they mean to a small child.
Take time to talk to your children..if they want to talk..and explain as best you can that sometimes people do bad things that hurt lots of others. And reassure them that you will do your best to keep them safe..and that you will be safe yourself. There will be a time when they are older for them to understand everything that happened. Right now what they need is to feel that they are secure in their own home. And the truth of it is, they are. The chance of any of you personally being hurt or killed in a terrorist attack is minimal. Let's not let the little ones suffer for our adult fears.
Remember too that when we are afraid and feel helpless, when we see people hurt by terrorists..we often transpose these feelings into anger. Directly it is anger at the terrorists. But since we can't strike back directly at the source of our fears, it often overflows into our relationships at home. Be aware of your emotional state. Don't end up taking out your anger on those who don't deserve it, loved ones, friends, our children.
We also need to be very careful that our justifiable anger does not spill over on to innocent targets. Right now we don't know for a fact who did this awful thing. Yet I have already heard people on talk radio saying they wish all Muslims were dead. This is our fear talking, not our rational selves. And letting fear talk can lead to our committing acts we may regret later. Let us reserve our anger for those who do deserve it, for those who committed this act, and for those who provided them with the tools and money to do it. It should pointed out, not so long ago we blamed the Muslims for another attack, only to find out it was committed by our own citizens.
While we are all made aware of our vulnerability by this act, don't let it become a fear so great that you cannot function in a normal fashion. Yes, we are still in mourning and temporarily immobilized. But if you suddenly find yourself unable to go to work because you fear that something "might" happen, if you can't leave the house without your heart pounding, then your fears have gained control of your life. And that kind of reaction is a good sign that you need professional help to aid you in working through these events.
And don't forget the spiritual side of your healing either. Take time for yourselves to commune with the Divine. Ask for your own healing as well as that for others. Get outside and touch the earth, sit under a tree, find your center again.
Being able to offer help to others in worse need is one good way of feeling that you have regained some semblance of control. Most of us live some distance away from these disasters. But here in the States there are a number of direct ways that you can help. The Red Cross will continue to need blood in the coming weeks and months both to treat the victims of this disaster and to replenish depleted blood banks across the country. Sure the lines are long today, but in a week they probably won't be. Get out there and donate blood. If you don't know where to go, call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE. And along with blood, relief workers with the Red Cross will be in need of many, many supplies to help with rescue efforts and in the shelters from those made homeless by the blasts. Any amount of money would be welcomed. Again, for monetary donations, contact the Red Cross at 1-800-HELP-NOW.
We as a nation and as a world must do whatever we can to insure that this does not happen again. Terrorism is an attack on each and every one of us. In the past we have been ineffective in doing this because we have acted alone and have gone after only the individual perpetrators. We have learned to our sorrow that this does not work. The continued support of terrorist groups by countries around the world has meant an unending supply of individuals who are willing to die for what they believe. To be effective in ending this scourge, we must remove these safe havens. Can it be done? Yes it can. Those of us who remember the many, many airplane hijackings of the 1970's also remember how those became rare once the world decided that no nation would grant refuge to a hijacker. The nations of the world need to come together again now and say that they will not tolerate any such acts as we just experience, and that any nation which harbors, trains, or funds such acts will be held accountable.
This action must be carefully planned, based on accurate information that targets the real perpetrators and minimizes risk to the innocent around them. To do otherwise is to sink ourselves to their level. And once identified and located, then and only then could I see the use of military force to eliminate the terrorist center. And warning must also be given to the hosting country that any action on their part to prevent our actions will be treated as a hostile act. Let there be no mistake, we must act..or we are all doomed to experience such acts again and again.
One final intervention that you here in the States, and one that you overseas, can do..is let your government representatives know that you give them your support to end the threat of world terrorism. Politicians are talking a good line right now, but months from now when the ashes have cooled, they may need reminding that the memories of these terrible days are still fresh in our minds and that they need to act to prevent any repetition of this event.
In the meantime, let us keep each other and all those across the world harmed by this tragedy in our thoughts and prayers. Contine to talk to your friends and loved ones, or to your counselors or clergy as you need to vent your fears and anger. And know that the God and Goddess hold each of you in their arms.
© Lark 2001
Counseling / Main Index
Last Updated October 19, 2001