I wasn't going to write anything about this because in my opinion, there are no words that I could put together that would really acknowledge the tear in the fabric of our lives the event of thirteen years ago made.
Then, something brought me up short this afternoon...
You see, today is my husband's birthday. So, now I look upon this date on the calendar as a wonderful one which enriches my life. Fifty-six years ago today this man graced the world with his presence and we continue to celebrate that gift. Today, he got a fabulous birthday gift - the promise and encouragement of beginning in a new job that he is looking forward to stepping into. You see, he has been at a crossroad in his life and being forced to consider a change in his work. For a while it has been like a millstone tied to him, dragging him down. The decisions, the stress, the worries, the concern, the uncertainty, the certainties...all of it made for a struggle and difficult times. Emotions have been pulled taught like a thin thread about to break. The knots and kinks that decisions and uncertainty and even the certainties which are not pleasant cause in our mindset have been taking a toll on him and, in turn, me. It seemed like the fabric of our lives had been worn thin almost to the point of creating a gaping hole - change. Then, suddenly, today, the news of this change made us begin to think differently and face the future with a new mindset. We stopped to be thankful and to realize that our own situation which had seemed stressful just a few short hours ago really wasn't a big deal at all. We recognized how blessed we really are and how fortunate we are in those blessings. Yet, for me, on this day, this change in perspective and outlook on the world was taking place on September 11th for the second time. A reminder of all I have to be grateful for in this world and how I need to be more mindful of others who are not nearly so fortunate.
Like most anybody who was alive and journeying through the world on September 11th, thirteen years ago, I remember exactly where I was and what I did for the remainder of the day after that horrific morning.
I was in a school and was monitoring the attendance of high school students as they were going through their morning from their first classes to their next and thinking about the cute boy or girl who sat in that desk over there or dreaming about what they could be doing if they hadn't been stuck in those four walls or squeezing the ridges of their pencil as they squeezed out the knowledge they possessed to pass the assignment for which they were working to earn a grade.
A news flash passed across my computer screen and I opened up the message. Then, quickly I summoned the nearest administrator to share what I had learned. We began to brace ourselves for the onslaught of dismissals we anticipated. We knew that parents would want their children to make their way home as quickly as possible so that they could huddle together and pray that there was safety in that.
I, too, thought of my own two children and wanted to hold them close. My son was there at the school but my daughter was about a half-hour away at college and I developed a huge lump in my throat till I heard from her and could encourage her to scoot home even though there was no guarantee at that point that home was a safe place in times like this.
I finished out my day there at school helping to look out for other people's children before I made it home to my own. Then, we sat in front of the television and watched in horror as things unfolded. We were just as dumbfounded as everybody else that something like this could happen right here in our back door.
I still grieve for those people who were directly touched by the tragedy. I know that their world was turned upside down and it will never be the same. Still, I wish there was something I could do that would comfort them and make things seem alright when deep down I know that nothing will ever be the same for them again.
The thing is, truthfully, nothing will ever be the same for me again, either. I had just come through a devastating divorce. My world had been turned upside down. My life had been turned inside out. I would never again feel the same way I had felt just a couple of years before. Yet, the horror and tragedy of that day in September was a turning point in my life in a different way. The horrible-ness of it helped me to realize how fortunate I really am. I felt blessed that while some folks had lost their family in a permanent and gut-wrenching way, my own family wasn't totally lost. My own family was just changed and we were still accessible for one another and we could continue on through our journey and only look and feel a bit differently than we had before. The fabric of our lives just had a wee bit of a fray in comparison to those folks who had the fabric of their lives shredded beyond recognition.
Still, words to not even come close to acknowledging the devastation of that day thirteen years ago when our world changed forever. Yet, each anniversary of that event since them, we can look reflectively and count our blessings and lift up those who were not as fortunate as we are. The tears in the fabric of our lives help us to realize what really is important and look around for how we are blessed.