It wasn’t till mid-morning that it dawned on me that we’ve come around to September 11 again. Actually, it happened when I went to the website of a company I do some business with (Shareasale) and they were closed for the day, with a commentary which included this:

Each year, we close our offices today and we encourage others to take this day in remembrance not only of what was lost, but also in celebration of everything that we have in our lives. The families of victims from that morning would give anything to spend one morning with their loved ones, we encourage you to go out and live today to the fullest that you can.

That had me in tears… and then it got me thinking about my father. On my website page about his classic textbook, Psychological Warfare, which he wrote as Paul M. A. Linebarger, I talk about how I turned to that book soon after 9/11/2001, and what I read in it. I won’t repeat myself; clicking the link psywaror the book cover will take you to that page.

So it’s been seven years now. I just held an imaginary conversation with Daddy. (Yep, that’s what I always called him. Had he lived longer, I daresay I would have progressed to Dad, but he remains Daddy to me for the rest of my life.) Now, our politics weren’t close. He was pretty right wing, and I have always been far more liberal. Picked my views up from my mother and reinforced them by becoming a Quaker during Vietnam.

“What do you think of the effects of 9/11, Daddy?”

“Girl, you need to take a larger view of things.”

I figured I’d found the right person out there in the world of spirit and imagination, as he is the only person who ever called me Girl.

“Easy for you to say, Daddy, wherever you are. I suppose the larger view you want me to take includes accepting all the suffering and waste that can be traced directly back to that day?”

“Yes. Suffering is part of the huge canvas. Cruelty, greed, insane minds bent on causing destruction, well-meaning fools, innocence destroyed, you name it… it’s all part of life. Your pain comes from resisting all that, just as you resist it in my stories.”

“True, I do, and you overloaded me as a kid.”

“Probably. I can see how you think that. But you wouldn’t be who you are now without that exact childhood, and that’s what I mean about a larger view. It’s easy enough for people to say, ‘This is good’ or ‘That is bad,’ but really it’s all mixed up together.”

I remembered getting really mad at him once when we were arguing about the Vietnam war and he said something like that.

“Still saying that sort of thing, huh? The funny thing is, I talk like that a lot now too. I feel practically Buddhist sometimes.”

“Buddhist, Christian, or anything else… remember to take a larger perspective.”

I felt his spirit fading out of my awareness. I had hoped to somehow get into the kind of complex and fascinating political conversations that I’d had with him in my late teens, but evidently my channeling abilities didn’t go there.

Still, Remember to take a larger perspective is a darn good message, be it from “out there” or my own subconscious. And isn’t that one of the reasons we read the science fiction of Cordwainer Smith and other greats? Think I’ll live life to the fullest today by doing a bit of re-reading.