It has been said that there are only two emotions, love and fear and all that is fear cannot be love and all that is love cannot be fear. All other emotions come from these two key emotions.
Last night I watched the movie, Diverted, a TV movie set in Gander on Sept. 11, 2001 depicting stories of travellers stranded when the aviation commission shut down the skies after the World Trade Centre towers were hit by terrorist attacks.
While the event was true, there was some creative licence taken with the stories of course and I have to mention that there isn't actually shoreline in Gander, located in central Newfoundland so those beautiful scenes where they are looking out at the ocean is some other part of Newfoundland, but beyond that I enjoyed the movie. It also gives me a great lead in to my theme of the day, love and fear.
September 11, 2001. I was sitting a Newspaper office where I worked when a coworker came in and said a plane had hit the world trade centre in New York City. It prompted someone to pull out the television and the editor was watching it in her office and I happened to walk in just as the second plane hit. I don't think I can compare that moment to any other I've ever experienced. New York City is not that far away from Ontario. Were we at war? What was happening to our nice, safe part of the world? We were all in shock and we were all fearful. And in that moment I heard many utterances of terrible racism against the people who had possibly done this. In fear and shock those same people forgot that Timothy McVeigh, the terrorist who had bombed the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City was a white American raised man. Fear makes for strange logic.
Like the rest of the world I remained glued to CNN. I watched the towers fall knowing there were people dying in there before my eyes. We wept for them. We wept for their families. Tall buildings were evacuated even in our little obscure city. It was a fearful time. But all over the world, in New York City, another emotion, that one that is said to be opposite to fear, was becoming increasingly apparent. Those tireless workers who kept digging to find people long after there was any hope. The outpouring of love from the world towards the people of New York city that day exemplifies what I am talking about here. There was more love than fear in those days and there was a lot of fear.
We, as Newfoundlanders have been picking apart the movie(Where is Glendale?) but the fact is the movie isn't about Gander, it's about love and fear. I felt such anguish for the flight attendant wondering about what those other flight crews had gone through in order to get them to fly into those buildings. I felt such love from the pilot who understood and calmed her fears.
I felt moved by the two young people who were drawn together due to the tragedy, the fear she felt, the love that helped her through. Time and again I saw love overcome fear and that's what I think the movie was supposed to do.
And then there were the people of Gander and surrounding area and the people of Newfoundland in fact, because all were involved, all wanted to help, businesses, individuals, from all over the province, donating what they could, offering a helping hand, throwing a party. I chuckled at the surprise the passengers often expressed at "these people" and their kindness. There was no surprise to me. I grew up in that environment, you love people, you help people, it's just what you do.
I know I'm biased but somehow I do think that Newfoundland offers up more than its fair share of loving kindness to the world, maybe being isolated all those years meant we weren't exposed to cynicism and negativity the same. Maybe all those years of surviving through struggle and hardship simply reinforced over and over again that it's love that gets people through this type of thing. I don't know what it is but I burst with pride whenever I think of it. Every single time I think of it.
The movie was called Diverted. What an appropriate title. Not because the planes were diverted to Newfoundland and other parts of Canada that fateful day but because the opportunity was given in those days to divert fear into love. That day, that week, those people were able to experience first hand how fear could be transformed into a thing of beauty, that love is the diversion we all need to seek to balance out the fear in our lives. For where love exists, fear cannot.
We need to operate first from a love perspective not a fear perspective and when fearful things happen we need to them use our perspective of love to balance things for us and those affected.
And while there isn't an ocean in Gander(um, there is in the movie?), there is a something as vast and deep and even more impressive, there is an ocean of loving kindness and that counts more than anything that is portrayed on a movie screen. I think that's the truth in this movie, no creative license required.