Here I am, 16 years to the day that I was upstairs in my office, talking with my dear college roommate. While evil was awry and a diabolical plan was underway, I was talking about a girlfriend’s weekend with her and trying to align our flights so that we’d arrive at the same time.
Yes, I was trying to book a flight. To this day, the irony of it shakes me to my core. While people were on flights that were headed toward the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Flight 93 was destined to be used as a torpedo to decimate the Capitol Building, I was on the phone laughing and talking with no idea of what was about to happen to me, to us and to this country.
Our lives were changed in an instant.
I remember my then-husband yelling up the stairs that I needed to come downstairs and look at the television. I told my friend. She said that she was hearing some strange stuff too. I remember telling her that something was wrong with my computer. I was trying to book my flight to our weekend spot but it seemed to be frozen. I had no idea that a plane had just hit the first building of the World Trade Center.
I walked with my cell phone downstairs to look at the television. What I saw was so horrifying that my mind couldn’t conceive it. I began immediately to ask questions and my husband motioned for me to stop and to listen. I heard the words but it was like everything was in slow motion. My brain was having trouble processing it. Black smoke, flames, screams, the crashing of metal. Specks that were bodies jumping out windows. Panic and pandemonium, the likes of which I had never seen in my life. It’s been 16 years to the day and I remember it like it was yesterday.
And sure, things have been cleaned up. Wow, did I just say cleaned up. No, let me change that. The site has been renovated. New buildings and a park have been built. The spot looks absolutely beautiful. Yet underneath the face lift and botox of new chrome, cement and renovation the Earth still carries the blood, the remains, the sadness of this day.
Babies born on that day are now 16 years old and their mothers, fathers, aunties, uncles, cousins are images on a page and stories that they dread hearing because of the reminder of what was lost. I could use this blog post to say something smart and awakened like, “Don’t look at it that way,” and attempt to apply some mindless, go-to cliché. I won’t undervalue your pain in that way. What I will do instead is light a candle in my heart. Today, I will let tears roll down my face.
If life is a lesson, then what am I suppose to learn from 9/11?
Today, I will be present. For it is in being present that I truly allow the souls of those lost to speak. I want to hear them. I want to be present so I can ask conscious questions and seek conscious answers. Questions like:
- Will I talk of peace on today, but not own the anger, the hate, the violence in my own heart?
- Will I stop today but resume blaming of the political impotence of the Right and the Left tomorrow?
- Will I mindlessly turn on the television to watch hate, violence and murder and call it entertainment?
- Will I nourish my soul with a fear-based diet that I will energetically embolden?
No! Not today. Today I will pay attention and choose a higher intention for myself. Maybe that is the lesson 9/11 came to teach me not just for today but for every single day of my life.