By the time my children arrived home from school, the world in which we lived had turned upside down from what it had been when they were eating toast for breakfast. Fear had overtaken our home like the giant goober from the 1960's movie "The Blob". A few days later a massive sonic boom rattled our home to it's foundation after jets were flown out quickly on a rapid response mission due to a pilot from a private plane neglecting to answer a radio call. My high octane anxiety knew that this was the follow up nuclear detonation of nearby Chicago. I frantically ushered the kids into the basement, unable to follow because of a leg cast, while the kids screamed in hysteria in reaction to my unstable emotions.
The bubbling morass of my fear lingered until I was asked to buy duck tape and plastic wrap. My breathing slowed and I laughed. There came a point where the anxiety no longer ruled and I began to think and feel as a person rather than a reaction. My personal safety had never been in question, the anxiety had been a product of the incomprehensible devastation to the lives of the victims and their families. There is no quick fix for pain wrought by so many deaths of so many innocents. Which is why in some ways it is understandable that so little can be agreed upon for the site of those horrifying events.
And yet. And yet it isn't so understandable. When an individual or group decides in the name of their God to kill people, there must be some response. But must the response be one of the same message? Should the moment after be filled with more anger and hatred? What if the site of one of the most brutal killings in our lifetime, was given over to all belief systems? The empty hole, filled with love, diversity and tolerance, open to all religions, much as our forefathers had dreamed when they came to this country many years ago. I can envision a place where one may worship and not be censored in that belief or non-belief. Where better than the place where one group's interpretation of God tried to destroy an other's that the message be of love and acceptance of all faiths. Religious freedom drove us to populate a wild and untamed land and that same freedom must drive us now. Our ancestors fought with strength and an unwavering spirit to claim the right to worship as they chose, fear was not their determining factor, nor should it be ours.