On September 14th, 2001 I went to a concert. My favorite band, 311, played at a fairground in rural Washington state. I’d been looking forward to the concert for a while as this was a rather lonely time in my life. Even though I was going to the show alone, I would be among friends and the band’s music lifts me up.
After the 11th of September, I figured the concert would be cancelled, but the show went on. Walking through the fairgrounds, I remember how good it felt to be around people again. I’d been holed up alone for days, full of so many emotions. It seemed like everyone wore red, white, and blue and I remember taking comfort in that unity. We are all in this together. I wore an old American flag shirt I’d bought in a grocery store in Ticonderoga, NY topped off with my Yankee cap.
When the band took the stage and began to play, I felt a ripple of emotion move through me — the vibration of music, resonance, and feeling good.
The band just played. They made no comment about the attacks. In fact, I’m not sure they even addressed the crowd (as they typically do).
They just played their music and entertained us.
That made a big impression on me. In many ways, it was the most memorable concert I’ve ever been to (and I’ve been to quite few).
There was nothing for them to say, there were no words, so why go there?
Why pick at a scab? Especially when it feels better to leave it alone?
Years ago, after the tsunami hit Indonesia (I admit I had to Google the location just now), I published my monthly newsletter without mentioning the event. In fact, I wrote something with a light-hearted tone. A relative wrote me, asking how I could ignore such a monumental, horrible occurrence? How could I write something so upbeat when there was so much suffering?
I gave him what I suspect was an unsatisfying reply… I told him I knew very little about the tsunami. I knew of it, of course. I enjoy watching TV, I’m connected, I do not isolate myself… I simply did not tune into those channels because I prefer other ones.
I failed (and still fail) to see any benefit to focusing on something I did not like.
What made me think of all of this were my thoughts of appreciation. On Friday evening, my sister and niece came over from New Hampshire to visit and see the baby. My sister in law and her two daughters joined us for some lovely Indian food as well.
We enjoyed each other’s company. We enjoyed watching the kids connect and play together. We talked. We entertained one another.
We talked about lots of things, but the events of the day did not come up. As far as I can tell, no one was avoiding the subject. We just were not tuned to that channel because of all the good in front of us.
There was nothing to say on the topic that would make anyone feel better. So there was nothing to say.
I appreciate that dinner, my family, our laughter, and the appreciation channel just like I appreciated that concert and that music so many years earlier.