As weeks become months the distance that time puts between the fresh wounds of Sept. 11 and the unpainted landscape that unfolds at our feet, becomes a blur of events that are imbedded in our souls. We continue our journey because we choose to be brave. How easy it would be to stay frozen in grief.
I won't pretend I know what this tragedy has been like to those who experienced it first hand. Even those who lived it and rode it out or lost someone they loved in the attacks by madmen, by murderers have not had time to fully understand the ways they have been changed. Not yet. It's too soon to count all the losses. Death is like that. It steals away things that you didn't even know you had. It robs you of parts of yourself you didn't know existed.
It is only in time...after lots and lots of time, that you begin to compare and measure who you were 'then' to who you are now.
I guess we all struggle to find ways to cope with our grief. As a nation we have lost things we will NEVER see again. Our freedom has been compromised. Our liberty is at stake. Besides the vacancy left where our innocence once lived, we now find ourselves avoiding the abyss of that black hole ahead. What will tomorrow bring? When will the next shoe drop?
When will anthrax show-up on my doorstep? Will smallpox be next? How many brave men will die fighting for this great country of ours, for this precious world we must share with people who might never learn to live in peace.
Will it ever be okay again? Will we ever recover enough to believe in the things that gave life it's shine?
Will we ever find freedom from fear again? We can't imagine living forever like this. Not like this. And yet, we know now how brave we can be. We know we are capable of rising higher, reaching deeper, stretching further than we dared imagine.
We know so much more than we knew before. Still, we miss our sweet innocence.
And we are angry. We are mad. Some, like me, are mad for the first time. I never imagined I was capable of doing the things I have considered doing to those who have stolen the best parts of my spirit. I have imagined myself fighting back, if I could. I believe I could kill and at times I know I'd look forward to it. If I had the chance to face off with one of those cowards who tore a sacred page from my country's September Story...I'd kill them in a New York minute. I would...and I'd do it without blinking an eye.
And it is in that sorry discovery of those parts of myself I would have said did not, could not exist that I realize the things those terrorist thieves stole from us on that Tuesday morning will not be counted in total anytime soon.
So what now? For some the road ahead looks the same as it did on Sept. 11. For those who have not claimed a friend or loved one who still lies beneath ashes, time is suspended in a rock-hard cloud of smoldering air. For others who have been allowed a final good-bye, there is the dark discovery of a hollow victory and an empty room inside a shattered heart. There is the cold promise that says time will heal wounds and the empty prayer that waters a starving vine where love once kept someone's soul alive.
So many ways to give sorrow a voice. And yet, we are speechless and feel everything that matters has already been said.
What is left? Where do we head as we turn away from all this? I suppose we begin by falling into those everyday small things that allow us to tumble through the cycles of life again. We do the things that require no investment of our emotions. We live the slow-moving minutes and pray for the markers that will become hours and then days.
We cling to the hope that in time...in time...we can get through an hour without wanting to cry or give-up or just disappear.
So here we are, almost two months later. And in the middle of all of this rubble and ruin and in the layers of unfolding plans that great men are mapping out as they repaint our futures and design our destiny we know without proof or beyond doubt, that whatever it takes to survive, to win, to conquer...we will do it and we will do it WELL!
Why? Because others have been tested in other heartless ways. They made it. They got past it. They made sure the good guys won and the bad guys disappeared in great clouds of smoke.
And we know we have each other. Oh! We have each other. And always in the midst of the sad, sad, saddest story...there is that stranger who appears out of nowhere...like hero. We have our heroes. Thank God we have our heroes.
They smooth the road. They take the sting out of our burns. They remind the child inside each of us that there are still fairy tales and happy endings and they tell us when we need to hear it most "Don't worry little girl. I'm here...and it's OKAY!" Or they tell the little boy inside the man, "You can cry and still be brave. Now you go ahead. Cry...cry and cry, and I'll be here for as long as that takes."
So that's where we are now. We aren't home free but we are far enough to see that lovely ray of light.
We have each other. Please don't forget that. We have our heroes. We have our hope. We have this country...our lovely country. And by God we will not lose this grip on freedom. We will not take what's left for granted.
No. We've changed. Now...we are stronger. What we have lost, will never be recovered. But there is more. There is tomorrow. And man, despite all I know, is good. His heart is good. His honor is intact.
So for tonight, I will rest easy. I have put my faith in the hands of strangers and I'll pray for them until this battle is won and they are home again.
Thank you God for these second-chances. I'll make it count. I'll make You proud.
To my friends, to my heroes...I send you another piece of what we call in Hawaii "The Ohana Spirit"...
we are one family. Together we are strong. Together all things are possible.

Until soon,
KauilaPolu Writes Again