The VigilanceVoice

Saturday-- June 1, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 262
Ground Zero Thunder Storm
"God's Flushing His Toilet!"

Cliff McKenzie
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZERO, New York City, June 1--Heaven's floodgate opened last night.  It poured bucketsful of cleansing rain over Ground Zero.  
     The sky ignited with lightening.   Thunder growled deep from God's guts.   It was as though all the tears from all the Sentinels of Vigilance were shed in a final washing of Ground Zero--cleansing the pain of all the families, rescue workers and volunteers who had worked twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for the past nearly nine months.
       It has been 6,288 hours since September 11.   During that time workers feverishly crawled through every square inch of dirt and debris in search for signs or symbols of the dead, or the very slim chance that someone might have survived the horror of the Terrorist attack.  Love ones mourned.  The nation cried in sorrow.   
        On Thursday, May 20, at 10:29a.m., the final bells tolled for the rescue operation at Ground Zero.   All the machinery dedicated to search and rescue ground to a halt.    Workers put down their shovels.   Support systems for families at the site closed their doors.   It was over.   The last rock had been turned.  The gravesite was dug.  The gravediggers were out of a job.   If possible, it was time to heal the wound.
       At the memorial on Thursday, we saluted the final moment when the search stopped.   Family, workers, loved ones, police, fireman, emergency workers, volunteers stood in honor as the last stretcher was walked out of the Ground Zero pit to the tattoo of drums rat-a-tatting a death march cadence.   The flag-draped stretcher was placed in an ambulance and hauled off, cleansing the site "officially" of any  of the 1,000 unidentified victims bodies, ending any hope of ultimate closure for thousands of family members.
      The gravesite of Ground Zero was officially transformed into a construction site at 10:30a.m, May 30, one minute after the ceremony began.   All tears shed that day made their final union with the blood of 2,800 souls who died in the disaster.  "Officially," it was time to move on--time to bury the pain of the past to make room for the joys of the future.
      For the past two days I have suffered nightmares.   Horrors of my past loomed up as I slept.  In my own life, the Ground Zero ceremonies seemed to open a floodgate of images trapped in my soul's dark caves, for they rose up in my dreams to both haunt me and to escape their hiding places.
     I didn't tell anyone about them.   When I closed my eyes they came up from the bowels of my being to remind me that pain and suffering is part of me, part of all humankind.   I had stuffed so much for so long that I could no longer restrain the weight of them.
     I almost didn't want to go to sleep.    I didn't want to return to the Fears, Intimidations and Complacencies of my life--to those days when Terrorism ruled my every thought.    But I had no choice.   Participating in the Ground Zero ceremonies seemed to rip a hole in my soul--driving the Beasts of Terror to the surface of my consciousness where they gleefully frolicked in my dreams.
     I am not a dreamer.   Or, at least, I don't remember dreams.  But over the past two days they have dominated my thoughts, their visual power replaying during waking moments.  At first I was confused and troubled about them.  But last night I knew what they were about.
    The sky erupted.
    Great claps of thunder roared as the sky clapped with thunder and sheets of rain fell smothering everyone and everything in the purity of rainwater.   My wife and I were babysitting our grandchildren, Matt, 5, and Sarah, 3.   They sat cuddled in their G-Ma's arms staring out the window into the garden, eyes agog, waiting for the next thunder clap, the next ignition of lightening that cast the room in a pale illumination.
     "Why is the thunder and lightening, G-Pa?"  My grandson asked the question innocently.  He and his sister had just had baths and were cuddled in terrycloth towels  shaped into animals, a dinosaur for Matt, a rabbit for Sarah.
     "God's flushing his toilet," I said.
     Matt scrunched up his nose.  "G-Pa!!!!! That's not nice."
     We joked about it.  The words had just popped out of my mouth.
     It was that way for me.   It seemed the clog in the toilet pipes of my soul had been flushed by the Ground Zero ceremonies.   It was as though God was flushing my soul, and perhaps all the others, of the sewage of the past, flushing out the waste of thoughts that made one tremble in silent fear of shadows and thoughts trapped in a bottleneck of emotional plumbing.
     I had no better explanation--at least, for myself that is.
     Ironically, our toilet had clogged recently.  We live on the fifth-floor of a pre-WWII apartment, well over a hundred years old.   The water poured out and flooded the apartment below us.  We were unreachable that day and came home to find the superintendent had turned off the building's water because of the flood caused by our toilet.
     We had been having trouble with the toilet.  It even flushed itself with no one pulling on the plunger.  The 'super' had been up a number of times to fix it, but it didn't resolve the problem.   Now, he replaced the guts of the mechanism. 
     I wondered if God, or the Great Spirit Above, appreciated my humor.   I imagined Him flushing a great toilet, full of pure water, and letting it sweep away the bile of the souls below.
     When I walked out of the apartment on my way to join my wife to baby-sit  I stood in the middle of the storm under an eve as the rain plummeted down.   I stepped out for a moment and let it wash over me, cleansing me, driving the demons of my past out of the sewers within.
     It felt good.
     I thought about the Sentinels of Vigilance.   Perhaps this rainstorm, these sheets of water dropping from the sky, were their tears.   Perhaps it was their way of letting those of us trapped in human form to know they were sorry for our pain and suffering, and shared in our anguish.
     Tears, I knew, were about purification.   They were lens cleaners--the Windex of the soul.   They came to clear away the dust and debris that fogs one's vision, clouds one's outlook on life.   I lifted my face upward and let their cleansing drops pound against my face and eyes, flushing from my pores the restlessness I had felt.
      "Don't be silly, G-Pa," my grandson said to me.  "God's not flushing a toilet..."  He tried to be serious but giggled at my analogy.   I laughed with him.  
      "Okay, Matt," I said, "It's not God flushing His toilet, it's all the angels flushing theirs..."
      I smiled at the youthful innocence of the two Children of Vigilance nestled on either side of my wife.   My grandson leapt out of the chair and crawled up on the couch next to me.  He gave me a hug.
     The rain, I thought, was good.   It was washing all of our Ground Zeros of Terrorism.   It was flushing clean the sewers within those of us who had been clogged with pain that had not been released.
     I scratched my grandson's head and waited for the next clap of thunder and sounds of the rain pounding down.  
     I knew I would sleep well that night--and I did.