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A reader writes … By Jim Shinn

September 17, 2001

Many will refer to it as "Terrorist Tuesday." For me it was "Tearful Tuesday."

I wept several times. I cried for the many families who lost and will lose, but I also grieved for me and my personal losses in my life and friends and family members I worry about losing.

Grief is like that, as I see it. All my tears are in a bucket inside my heart and when it gets full, I choose to dump some of it out. Tuesday it overflowed, again and again.

If your bucket is getting full, take some time to siphon off some sorrow. If you choose not to, it is easier to get locked in anger. In the world's culture, anger is much more acceptable than sadness.


I spent this summer researching for a class I am teaching. It was curriculum for a class in minority group relations. The class could be called "Man's Inhumanity to Man, 101!" I read about the Holocaust and watched two films on the topic. My wife just scratched her head and wondered why in the world I would want to review the murder of over 6 million innocent people.

It is for the same reason you the reader keep watching the news. We need to make sense out of world we live in. I think we are seeking hope in a hopeless situation.

It was a very upsetting day, and as I write on the day after, there is a heaviness in my heart like someone stole my joy. Well it's still there, it's just a little crowded inside me with the grief and worry. My oldest son works in Washington, D.C., and I haven't heard from him yet. I know he is OK but I wait for the email or phone call.

In spite of it all, I still have joy. The bad news is once again "men are behaving badly!" The good news is according to Romans 8:28, "And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers."

I still have joy because millions out there are going to do something good as a result of this awful tragedy. I wept as the hundreds or thousands lined up to give blood for strangers they will never know. Jesus gave his blood for us, and now millions will give their blood for others.

Don't let the enemy steal your joy. Take emotions and transform them into positive actions. Call the blood bank and volunteer to give blood. Become a volunteer for the local Red Cross so when the tragedy hits the West Coast next time, you will be ready to go. There are prayer vigils happening in churches and places of employment.

Organize and/or participate. Make no mistake, God hears all prayers. As I hear the stories of Americans stepping up to help, it gets me excited about wonderful things that will happen.

In six months we will have more "Chicken Soup" stories of courage, hope, faith and inspiration. Now for those of you who are very angry, I understand that and I am angry, too. My research tells me an ethnic group is NOT responsible for this trauma. It is evil who is responsible, and evil comes in all colors, shapes as sizes. Remember Oklahoma City.

Collectively we want swift revenge. First off, justice takes time. Although most want to point fingers at the Arab or Muslim community, keep in mind most Arab/Muslim countries are our allies.

I read years ago Yasser Arafat lost a son in a plane crash. I believe his condolences were sincere.

I pray we don't make a bad situation worse by attacking our own American citizens just because they look, dress or worship differently.

Unfortunately, American history is not unblemished in this regard. That is understandable. We all fall short of His glory.

Consider changing your "Terrorist Tuesday" to "Testament Tuesday." There are different definitions to the word "testament." One definition obviously relates to the Bible. Spend time in God's word. Another definition is a "tangible proof or tribute." Make a tribute to the goodness of humanity by doing something worthwhile or positive.

My prayer for you is peace, comfort, courage and that God's will be revealed today and you are given the desire to follow it.

JIM SHINN is an El Centro resident and counselor at De Anza Junior High in Calexico.

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