A Bible, open to a plea for forgiveness, was found fused to molten metal in the rubble of the Twin Towers. It is on display at the September 11th Memorial Museum and was shown to Pope Francis during his September 2015 visit.
The Friendship Trilogy offers two related mysteries:
1 ) Why would Donna have been at the World Trade Center? (contains spoilers)
- After conducting a same-sex marriage, Donna had been expelled from her ministry on September 10th in Yonkers, thirty miles north of Manhattan. She had planned to take an early train the next morning to visit Susan in Buffalo.
- Could she have been lured to the World Trade Center by an American al-Qaeda member (the brother of Alia, Donna’s lifelong soulmate) who had pledged to avenge the honor of his family after a sex scandal was splashed across the Internet
- OR…Had she been invited to a breakfast meeting with Father Mychal Judge, the chaplain of the New York City Fire Department? He was named ‘The Saint of 9/11’ after he was certified as the first death at the Twin Towers. Father Judge was a gay rights activist who had coached Donna in establishing a ministry for AIDS patients. The morning after the Methodists expelled her, he was offering her a new job at 8:46 AM when the first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Donna, trained as an EMT first responder with a volunteer fire company, assisted Father Judge at the Twin Towers that morning.
2) What is the role of forgiveness in the age of terrorism, polarization and epidemics?
- When Susan first sees it, the idea of forgiving the terrorists who killed her best friend makes her sick to her stomach
- Could ‘turn the other cheek’ simply mean using mindfulness, meditation or music to let go of the fear and anger that causes ‘stupid vision’? (when we see only the bad and make bad decisions because we feel bad, fearful, angry or depressed) As my characters learn (on a Bahamian beach, a Buffalo drug abuse center, a managed care organization, the White House, and in bed with each other) strong feelings unconsciously fasten our focus on just some facts while blinding us to the ‘clear vision’ we need for good decision making and win-win solutions.
- My characters (and I) agree that forgiveness doesn’t mean that you fail to protect yourself or seek justice… but it does mean that you avoid making a bad situation worse by making a bad decision because you only see the bad in yourself or others.