Water from the Well 

Meditation on United Airlines Flight 93

(crashed near Pittsburgh, September 11, 2001,

presumably from passenger resistance to hijackers)

by Richard Dauenhauer

—in grief for and in prayerful memory of all who died
in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001

We shall all be changed, in a moment,
in the twinkling of an eye. . . . . The dead
will be raised imperishable and we shall be
changed . . . and this mortal nature
must put on immortality.
(1 Cor. 16:51-53)

Of that day and hour no one knows.
(Matt. 24:36; Mk. 13:32)

We pray these litanies, so often without
out really thinking, knowing what they mean:
"Let us commend ourselves and each other
and all our life unto Christ our God,"

"A Christian ending to our life: painless,
blameless, and peaceful, and a good defense
before the dread judgement seat of Christ
let us ask of the Lord." I ask myself,

"How do I want to die?" How many times
has each of us reflected on our end?
To die in sleep? Or suffer long, lingering
death? Or just a few conscious minutes to

reflect, take action? If unaware, let God
sort it out, weigh moments of our life
spent in prayer or contemplation, struggling
with sin, or falling, falling, falling far

from God, distancing ourselves by choice?
If opportunity for action, how
would each of us respond? Because we fail
so frequently, we pray, "Don’t test me, Lord!

"Don’t temper my belief with choice." Some rise,
when facing terror, take command, and die.

—September 14, 2001, Elevation of the Cross

[Richard Dauenhauer, former poet laureate of Alaska, lives in Juneau and attends St. Nicholas Church.]


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