September 11, 2001
As I was lying awake last Tuesday night after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, trying to get some perspective on the terrible tragedy, I was reminded of my own experience. A few years back I had a situation of unresolved difficulty that was causing me great frustration and anger with the individuals and institutions involved. I was appalled to recall some bad dreams about murder and suicide. Of course I was never threatened by concrete thoughts of actually carrying out such acts, but the dreams continued to recur as my efforts to resolve the conflict were thwarted.
Most of us have had such experiences of feeling helplessly frustrated by a situation we can’t control. Fortunately I was able to make a creative change in my life that permitted me to resolve the problem, though not all of the related feelings. The dreams ceased. Many people and groups in the world are not in a position to make such changes and assume control, and we should not be surprised at violent acts even if we cannot possibly condone them.
Our country has recently been drifting into isolationism, as indicated by turning our backs on prior agreements and walking out on seriously constituted international gatherings. We as individuals and as a nation need to listen to those in the world who are aggrieved or even just think they have a grievance. Listening skills can defuse many threatening situations, as exemplified by skilled psychologists and psychiatrists, who deal daily with potentially dangerous clients.
I have no answers for what should be our response to Tuesday’s events. However, it does seem that the situation calls for us to be recommitted to care for one another, both locally and globally.
John A. Frantz
Published in The Monroe Times,
September 14, 2001