Today is September 11, 2013. It is amazing how different and yet how similar the world is compared to 12 years ago. Where were you and what were you doing 12 years ago today? I was sitting in the anatomy lab at the University of Wisconsin – Madison School of Veterinary Medicine dissecting the supinator muscle. I will never forget that muscle and what it does. The supinator allows the front leg (or arm) to rotate the paw (or hand) toward the other paw (or hand). I remember my professor telling us, “The supinator allows the hand to rotate as if you are holding a bowl of soup.” When I think of this position, I think of giving and sharing. It was a contrast of thoughts within my mind – hostility and aggression versus gifts and renewal.
As information came out about what was happening in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, my head was spinning. I was forced to face some of my deepest fears and anxieties. One might ask why as I was thousands of miles away from the destruction on the east coast. I was “safe” in Wisconsin. The planes crashing and the towers falling, shook me to the core. For years, I had struggled with depression and anxiety – specifically anxiety that if someone was even 5 minutes late, then they either hated me and were not going to show up or that they were bleeding to death on the side of the road and I was thinking horrible thoughts about them hating me. The thing about depression and anxiety is that there is rarely rational thought within the mind at the time. I was suddenly imagining that I was the person in the building or the plane that could not get to their family. I was the person that was left wondering, wishing that their loved one would come home, yet never would.
We were given the option of going home, to leave class and do whatever we needed to do. I couldn’t leave, but I couldn’t stay. I decided to walk around the building and a friend offered me a cell phone to call my friends on the east coast to make sure they were alright. While I was walking, I heard the radio announcing the fall of the second tower. I went back into the lab, shared the news, and sat down with my partners. I sat back down to focus on something that I could control, to focus on the supinator – the muscle of giving and sharing.
As our world now struggles with thoughts of Egypt and Syria, of continued unrest in places all over the world, I hope and pray that leaders of all nations learn the lesson of the supinator. To turn away from violence and instead focus on healing, giving, and sharing. To share ideas, thoughts, and feelings. To give food and aid to the people that are down trodden. Every major religion that I have studied shares the same basic tenants – to take care of the poor and the sick. I know that religion sparks many wars and acts of evil, but that is not the intent of any of those religions. I am saddened when the will of man destroys what is beautiful in this world. Please, leaders and followers of our world, stand up and respect each other. Sit down to a bowl of soup, a cup of tea, and learn to love each other, not in spite of, but because of our differences. Your supinator allows you to turn your hand into a hand shake, not into a fist. Let us learn from our supinator.