Impact

Impact

Pentecost 112

Someone asked what I wanted my readers to do after reading these postings.  Playing on my penchant for things in groups of threes, they asked I limit my answer to just three words.  This is my response:  “Impact your world.” And, if I may, I will give a total of three responses: “Impact your living.”  Impact with Positivity.”

Yesterday I was asked for an opinion.  I have never met the person who was requesting opinions.  We are part of a large group of entrepreneurs and creative people and the group is to encourage an exchange of ideas and to receive feedback in a beta testing sort of way.  Members are from all over the globe and include a diverse field of expertise and businesses.  The likelihood of me ever meeting the person requesting the response is quite small, so minimal that I would say it will never happen.  There is a type of freedom in that and that fact is what guarantees that you will get an honest opinion.

I gave my opinion, the fourth in a series of what ended up being over thirty responses.  At the time I posted my opinion, all of the others were “Great!”; “Good for you!”; “Looks great!”  Mine was couched in positive terms but mentioned a typo (Yes, I can catch them in others’ work; not my own, though!) and some confusing verbiage. Mine was more like a paragraph than a clichéd “Atta boy” response.  Mine was also the only one the owner of the post thanked.  Why?  Because, I think, I took the time to give a complete opinion and explain how the issue had impacted me, whether or not it accomplished its purpose.

The word impact is not often used and yet, we all live it every day.  One seldom visits Greece without visiting the remains of the Greek mythologies and the temples they inspired.  There is even a replica of the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee, halfway around the world.  One cannot read a comic book or play a video game without seeing some character based upon ancient mythology.  The impact of these legendary stories may not convert you to a particular belief system or faith but they still have had an impact on you.

From the Latin word “impingere” we have the English word impinge.  The literal translation of “impingere” is “driven in” and is based on an older word which meant to “press firmly or restrict” but a much easier definition of impinge is something that pinches, interrupts, or affects.  It is not surprising that from this same Latin word we also get the noun and the verb “impact”.  As a noun, impact refers to an action of one object making contact, usually forcibly, with another object.  As a verb, it is the action of that forcible contact, the bumping, colliding, altering.

Fourteen years ago the sun was rising just like it seemed to do on any other day.  Dogs barked, stray cats rooted through garbage cans, and somewhere in the alleys of New York City, rats scurried near the docks.  People crowded onto subways, busses, and ferries to begin their commute while others were already at their offices, exchanging greetings at the water cooler, recovering overnight voice mails, and plugging in coffee makers.  Children searched for homework papers to put in their backpacks and morning news programs’ started rolling.  Throughout the city life illustrated the cry of the television directors in control rooms of all the major networks:  “We’re Live!”

Within two hours, the impact of a belief system held hostage by hatred and greed, in direct opposition to the teachings of the religious mythologies which claimed to be their reason, made those words a lie for almost three thousand people, their families, and their rescuers.  A group of men, who spent their last hours not living according to their faith or its rituals but rather engaging in superfluous drinking and gambling, impacted the world.  At a location where the world came to America, at a place so aptly named the World Trade Towers, death overtook life and impacted us all.

On this day fourteen years later, many are still in agony.  New construction is evidence of the need and desire to proclaim “we’re Live!” and beautiful memorials guarantee that those lost will never be forgotten.  The impact of their loss, however, can never be and should never be forgotten.  The delirious rantings and actions of deranged egos impinged the chance of the world to realize the potential of those lives lost.  Our naiveté was impacted by the hatred and loss of humanity when the unthinkable became a reality of death and destruction.

The task ahead for us is to pay honor to those whose lives were taken without letting the actions of the misguided and inhumane group of men impinge our own humanity and beliefs.  Without a choice, we all became victims.  Those who perished were from over eighty countries in the world and all of the world became a target on that day.  However, to really honor those who awoke that day and began to live, we must continue living.  We are lucky we have that choice – whether to remain a victim and live in fear and hatred or to live with compassion, understanding, and humanity towards all.

Violence can beget violence.  The mythologies of every culture reflect this.  Our job is to take those myths one step further and learn from them, eliminating the violence.  We need to leave positive impacts that will overwrite the negative impacts of such days as September 11, 2001.  Today, we need to do what those brave souls who began the day as ordinary citizens and ended it as heroes were doing.  Today we need to live.  In the words of the brave men who prevented further disaster by taking action on a flight which ended in a field in Pennsylvania, echoing the words that were also often repeated in the halls of the third battle field that day, the Pentagon….”Let’s roll” with life and make today a glorious example of living.  It is the best impact we can leave the world.

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