... a 9/11 reflection
by jane davis

I was sitting in the New York Deli on Rodeo Road in Santa Fe, NM where I often go for a feeling of "home". I was born in New York City and most of my family is still there. The waitress came out of the kitchen and announced that the World Trade Center had fallen. Of course, I looked at her intently waiting for the punch line. There wasn't one. I quickly phoned my mother who lives on the Upper East Side. I got a quick busy signal indicating trouble with the lines. I phoned my sister. Quick busy. My niece. Quick busy. My pulse increased with every attempt. I went to work and continued trying to get through. No luck. We turned on a TV and watched, horrified. I have many friends who live and work in the area. There was no way of getting through to anyone in the city. I prayed quietly and wept as I watched in horror.

My mind wandered back to all the times spent at World Trade Center and Windows on the World, one of the most magical restaurants one could be at. Oh the view. It didn't matter if the food was good or not, one went for the magnificent view of the world and the gigantic martinis! That is what it felt like up there ... being on top of the world. On a clear night you could see forever. It was peace and awe. It was a place to take friends visiting the city. It was a place to go for a romantic interlude. It was a place to go to feel the pulse of the world. It was something to behold.

My first time there I was turned away. After waiting on line for an hour to take the elevator to the Windows on the World our whole group was turned away because they had a "no jeans" policy. It was an elegant place. Another time I had a date that began at Windows on the World and never ended. We ordered every appetizer on the menu and more martinis than I can even remember.

Filling the lobbies and offices were people from all over the world existing together in the Twin Towers, representing our Oneness and our diversity. Twenty-five years later, the man who I shared that date with remains a close friend. When Todd called he was standing in his bathroom looking out the window at his unobstructed view of a now empty sky having watched the planes fly into the towers. So many memories and lives destroyed. As soon as possible I was on a plane to New York. I wandered around in and out of fire houses talking and sharing with so many. Walking down the streets of NY people would stop and hug each other. Strangers, but not. I went to a funeral of an officer from the district where I used to spend so much of my time.

I made my way down to Trinity Church where I was allowed access because I knew one of the priests whom I had met at a retreat at Christ of the Desert Monastery in Abiqui, NM. I spent the day counseling people and doing Reiki on anyone who asked for help and support. One man said nothing with his mouth but everything with his eyes and broken heart. He stumbled up the steps of the church, seeking the refuge that was offered there by so many. Our eyes met. I held his gaze and soul deeply, an eye hug. He simply walked into my arms and he wept. While the air was full of particles and an odor hard to describe, this man smelled of pain. His body wracked with sobs crying out who knows what he had just witnessed. The pain and anguish of working in the rubble exploded in a torrent of tears that stained my clothing and my heart. I just held him until he let go, grabbed my hands and whispered in a barely audible sound, "Thank you." I nodded and squeezed his hands. Nothing more was said.

One by one the workers came to the church for food, water, toiletries, and love. I didn't want to leave. I was drawn into a conversation about some Hebrew letters that appeared above the front of the church. A priest had a few people gathered around him. They were all wondering what they meant. I looked up. Yud Heh Vav Heh. Four Hebrew letters that cannot be pronounced because they have no vowels and because they represent the highest form of G-d that is unknowable. The Mystery of G-d. I was drawn into the conversation and explained, as my Rabbi had explained to me. And for a brief moment all heads, Jewish heads, Christian heads and Muslim heads were turned upward looking at the 4 mysterious letters of G-d.

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