I am privileged to be a part of the North Carolina Remembers 9/11 event, a partnership between the Triangle Interfaith Alliance and the North Carolina Symphony. As a part of the program, a group of youth from area universities has come together to write a poem looking towards the future – our hopes and dreams for a post-9/11 world. We all represent different faiths, ages, interests, and ideas, and I’m lucky to get to work with such a cool group of people. Along with the organizer of the group, Rev. Nancy Huslage, we are very intent on keeping the politics out of this effort, and making it something that is about more than diversity, religion, or any singular concept. Rather, we’d like to make people sit up and think about the interconnectedness of all faiths – can they actually tell which one of us represents which religion? Do they think the messages of one faith are significantly different from those of another?
Each of us is contributing a verse to this poem, something that draws from our particular beliefs or faith system. The quote above comes from Marie, a performance graduate student at UNC. It really got me thinking about our poem, and about my day-to-day as this new school year begins. What is what we do every day if not a performance, for those around us and for ourselves? We push ourselves to see how much we can do, how far we can put ourselves out there, and how creative we can get with the stage directions, costumes, and lines of our lives.
But that hardly has to mean it’s rehearsed or mundane. I’d like to take up Marie’s challenge to see what I can do differently each day. Especially as Paryushan has just ended, it seems fitting to me to begin the year by actively assessing those routine motions and evaluating why they happen the way they do. I could probably start eating more fruit in the mornings, or going to office hours more often, or starting my homework earlier each day. They are little changes – but the little changes are what make a big difference. That’s all we are asking people to do at the 9/11 event next week – really take a hard look at what little changes have been made in their lives, and decide for themselves what to do differently each day. I’m going to try to start now.