Veni, Vidi, Sleepy

September 12, 2011 at 3:02 am (Uncategorized)

Well, I got to finally sleep today. I was up from 4pm on Friday to 7am Sunday morning, a Jordan personal best of 39 hours. Not quite 40, but 40 has a nice ring to it. It’s an even number, is vaguely biblical, you know…

In any case, slept from 7-6:30, it was wonderful. Even made it to evening mass. The streak is still strong.

So, I was talking to Kristin today about sass, and for whatever reason the idea that her roommate Peter had told her that she was wearing her sassy pants made my mind transition to puns. For those of you unaware, I absolutely love puns. I am the Darth Vader of puns (although UI’s Dean of the College of Science, Scott Wood, is the emperor). In any case, these are some of what I came up with (and told her).

  • You could get low cut sassy pants, if you wanted more people to notice your sass
  • I keep talking out my sass
  • Beverage of the Day? Sass-perilla
  • Favored sexual state? Sasstity
  • A-sass-ination
  • Which kind of sounds like a sassy nation. Which would send sasstronauts into space to defeat the USASSASSR.
  • They could have their capital in Sass Antonio (credit to Peter)

Don’t worry if you don’t think you can write puns like that, it’s pretty easy. Not sasstrophysics or anything.

Going on to the 24 Hour Theatre Festival yesterday. It was awesome. I was so so so so so tired towards the end of it, but I’m so glad I ended up doing it. Theatre is like some kind of terrible disease or addiction. Once you start, you just can’t stop, and you can go into withdrawals from lack of it. And once it’s in your blood then you’re pretty much screwed. Not going to be able to get rid of it. So this was my fix. It was definitely a little stressful putting together a musical in what amounted to 9 hours, but somehow it came together. It may have proved the notion of “terrible dress rehearsal/good performance” too. Because our dress was completely awful, but we ended up pulling out a clutch performance. I was privileged to work with a wonderful cast, and it was also exciting because I only knew/had worked with two of the other actors. Everyone was great to work with, which isn’t always a given and I was extremely appreciative of. I also have to give a shoutout to our accompanist John, who was extremely talented and without whom none of what we did would have been possible in the slightest. Worth staying up more than a day and a half straight for? I would say yes. Will I sleep for another 12 hours tomorrow? That seems incredibly likely. Staying up only took 4 amps, 2 five hour energies, a cup of coffee, and a huge burst of adrenaline that showed up just in time for our performance. I wouldn’t recommend it generally though.

Today was Sept. 11th. I mentioned before how crazy it is to think that 10 years have gone by, and all the changes that have occurred since that fateful day. I watched Jon Stewart’s remarks on it (thanks to Paige for posting) and I was struck by the fact that what I remember most about that day was the radio. It was early, I don’t know why I was up that early, 5th grade had just started, and we had this kind of shitty clock radio/cd player hooked to the bottom of one of our cabinets over the counter. It was white and might have been nice at one point but us kids messing with it had left it hanging loosely, it always seemed to be a little static-y; I can remember using a knife to remove a CD I accidentally got stuck in it as well. Anyway, when I got up something was wrong, and I could hear them talking about it on the radio. I think the TV was on too, and I can still see the image of the towers smoking and falling down in my head, but for some reason it’s the voices on the radio that I remember. My parents knew people working in the Amex building just across the street, and I know it freaked them out. I was still a little young in terms of really understanding what was going on. But all of our lives changed that day, and you can debate it however but it left an impact on all of us.

Today in mass, Father Vogel read a quote from Pope John Paul II, a speech or mass he gave after the attacks. I would like to present some of it here:

I cannot begin this audience without expressing my profound sorrow at the terrorist attacks which yesterday brought death and destruction to America, causing thousands of victims and injuring countless people. To the President of the United States and to all American citizens I express my heartfelt sorrow. In the face of such unspeakable horror we cannot but be deeply disturbed. I add my voice to all the voices raised in these hours to express indignant condemnation, and I strongly reiterate that the ways of violence will never lead to genuine solutions to humanity’s problems.

Yesterday was a dark day in the history of humanity, a terrible affront to human dignity. After receiving the news, I followed with intense concern the developing situation, with heartfelt prayers to the Lord. How is it possible to commit acts of such savage cruelty? The human heart has depths from which schemes of unheard-of ferocity sometimes emerge, capable of destroying in a moment the normal daily life of a people…

And then he gives a prayer.

1. For the Churches of the East and the West, and in particular for the Church in the United States of America so that, though humbled by loss and mourning, yet inspired by the Mother of the Lord, strong woman beside the cross of her Son, they may foster the will for reconciliation, peace, and the building of the civilization of love.

2. For all those who bear the name of Christian, so that, in the midst of many persons who are tempted to hatred and doubt, they will be witnesses to the presence of God in history and the victory of Christ over death.

3. For the leaders of nations, so that they will not allow themselves to be guided by hatred and the spirit of retaliation, but may do everything possible to prevent new hatred and death, by bringing forth works of peace.

4. For those who are weeping in sorrow over the loss of relatives and friends, that in this hour of suffering they will not be overcome by sadness, despair and vengeance, but continue to have faith in the victory of good over evil, of life over death.

5. For those suffering and wounded by the terrorist acts, that they may return to stability and health and, appreciating the gift of life, may generously foster the will to contribute to the well being of every human being.

6. For our brothers and sisters who met death in the folly of violence, that they find sure joy and life everlasting in the peace of the Lord, that their death may not be in vain but become a leaven bringing forth a season of brotherhood and collaboration among peoples.

The Holy Father: 

O Lord Jesus, remember our deceased and suffering brothers before your Father.
Remember us also, as we begin to pray with your words:  Pater noster…

O Almighty and merciful God,
you cannot be understood by one who sows discord, you cannot be accepted by one who loves violence:  look upon our painful human condition tried by cruel acts of terror and death, comfort your children and open our hearts to hope, so that our time may again know days of serenity and peace.
Through Christ our Lord. 

I’m not particularly religious. I like church, but the idea of God has always seemed abstract to me. I have no way of knowing whether or not he’s out there, and often the universe seems utterly random. However, I found myself agreeing entirely with the Pope’s message here. I feel in many respects we did not listen to the Pope’s appeals, as a nation we became obsessed for a time with vengeance. We were going to “put a boot up Osama’s ass” if it was the last thing we did. Well, he finally was killed earlier this year. Are we any better off because of it? I felt conflicted, because on the one hand, 12 year old Jordan in the time following the attacks would have very much been up with the thought of going in and throwing our military might around to essentially have a tantrum. We never went into Iraq or Afghanistan with clear end games in mind, and that was the problem. We were upset and wanted to blame someone. We let ourselves become deluded into thinking that if we made enough asinine airline restrictions and wiretapped enough people, we would be able to feel safe again. If we blamed anyone of Arab descent, or who was muslim, we would somehow be able to distance ourselves from the event. September 11th was an event stemming from a long line of cause and effect going back to our dealings with the Middle East in every decade since WWI. Choices have been made, and we need to understand that the effects of those choices are rippling through history. They are what we deal with now.

So what if we started a new course of action? What if we followed the Pope’s logic and decided that instead of being “guided by the spirit of hatred and retaliation,” we do everything in our power to promote peace?  What if we could all start appreciating the gift of life, understanding that we don’t really have that much time, so that it could “generously foster the will to contribute to the well being of every human being?” Why is that so hard a thing to believe in? It seems like so many of us, in our hurt, lash out because we want everyone else to feel the pain as well. It isn’t always easy to reign it in, to have forgiveness and passion, but the effects of something like that would ripple throughout history too, and I think we would like the results much more. If violence is indeed a “folly,” as the Pope claims, why do so many of us fall victim to it? Why do we always feel like hurting someone else will solve our problems?

If an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind, I sometimes worry that the world is already blind and we’re all just lashing out because none of us can see anymore. Having more compassion is something I work towards every day of my life, and will continue to work towards. The Buddha didn’t claim to be a god, and wouldn’t even talk about whether or not there was a God, because that wasn’t important to him. What was important was being awake. That’s all he ever claimed to be. And I fear our eyes are all shut. We are all asleep. We’re all asleep and sleepwalking around with guns and tanks and nuclear weaponry. So if I’m asleep, maybe I can dream, too. Maybe I can dream of a time when we love and care for one another, and forgive others their trespasses against us.

That’s what I think September 11th is about for me. Looking at how far we’ve come from that day. Looking at how we saw the worst in humanity, but also the best. People who risked their lives for others, not because they had to but because they knew it was the right thing to do. They saw the hatred and violence and replaced it with love and a resolve to see the moment through. Sometimes we can get complacent, and think we’re doing ok. It’s easy not to try to better yourself on a regular basis. It sometimes takes a tragic event to wake us up to the fact that we can do a lot more to love the world.

I grieve, but I do not despair.
















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