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9/11 – still a call for comfort

A Christian Science perspective.

By Rosalie E. DunbarNews editor for the Christian Science magazines / September 11, 2009

A few weeks ago, I called the oil company that services the furnace in my home, to have it tuned up for the winter. When the woman asked what day I wanted for the appointment, I said, "September 11," because I'd be home that day. Her response was immediate: "Oh, that terrible day," and I actually thought I heard tears in her voice. She said she had been delivering a local newspaper at that time, and her connection with the paper had made her feel very affected by events.

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She isn't the only person I've talked to recently who vividly recalls the terrorist attacks eight years ago that sent American Airlines Flight 11 and United Flight 175 into the World Trade Center and American Flight 77 into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. United Flight 93 was also taken over by terrorists, but passengers resisted and the plane crashed into the ground near Shanksville, Pa.

It's as though there continues to be a prolonged mourning, a feeling that the national and global troubles that began in those terrible moments still refuse to let people go.

Finding peace will continue to be elusive as long as thought dwells on the sorrow, anger, fear, or anguish one feels, however justifiably, over these events. I think real peace comes from a spiritual change – an uplifting of the heart through the influence of God's love, or the Christ-spirit that Jesus embodied for all humanity.

I love the promises in the Beatitudes Jesus gave us. One is "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted" (Matt. 5:4). Each individual can let this promise speak to him or her – can literally ask for the comfort of Christ and expect an answer that will bring more peace in life.

For me, a feeling of being comforted about 9/11 came in an unusual way. Not long after the attacks, I attended a workshop in Cambridge, Mass., that included religion writers from across the United States. As I chatted with them, I asked individuals from different areas how they had felt about the attack on New York, thinking that while they might express sympathy, the events would have had little effect on them.