I’ve learned that it’s easy to recall terror and trauma; that the memory of anything that’s caused us pain or damage or turmoil is so easily accessible and readily available.
I still remember this day in 2001 when our world came shattering and screeching to a halt. Time stood still. The safety we’ve always felt was torn from beneath us and images of terror and evil flashed before our wide eyes.
But, today, let us not remember the terror. Or, let’s remember, but not dwell on it. What you give thought to, you give power to. So, instead, recall the love.
Recall the faces and stories of those who were lost that day; how they were mothers and sons and aunts and sisters and fathers and brothers and children and friends and grandparents and how they were all the center of their own universe and how they were all – every single one of them – someone else’s everything.
Tell stories. Give memories a voice. Recall the outpouring of pride for our country; sympathy for our fellow Americans. Let us recall the kindness of strangers. Let us recall the bravery of our own. Let us recall how it felt to be united.
Let us not focus on the horror of how lives ended, but instead, focus on how those lives began; on everything between the day they were born and the day they died – because it’s everything in the middle that counts the most.
Let us not lose the lesson – because there is always a lesson, especially in the darkest moments. We’re all going to die. There is absolutely nothing we can do to avoid it. The clock is forever ticking – unstoppable even if we were to tear out the hands and rearrange the numbers in a futile attempt try to trick it into giving us one more day here. It shall not be tricked, for it is powered by a force bigger than us.
So, the lesson is not to find ways to live forever or to fight the inevitability of death. The lesson is to live every day with the knowledge that this is all temporary. To treat every person we encounter kindly and with gentle hands.
There will always be evil. There will always be those who seek to destroy, and spread hatred. It is dangerous to think we can stop it. We cannot explode it out of existence. What we can do, however, is realize that the only way to counteract it is with love. It may seem small and weak, because bombs and crashing planes are louder; but, trust in its power: The power of good and light and patience and love
This is my wish: anyone reading this, please do one deliberate act of good right now. Buy someone a coffee. Smile at a stranger. Look someone in the eye and ask them how they’re really doing. Hold a door. Hug someone for 9 seconds without pulling away. Serve a fellow human being. When you find anger, fight it with kindness. Practice patience. Notice each other. Let the despicable acts of this day catapult us into doing more good.
That is how we win.
I’ve been speaking my gratitude’s out loud every day and this usually includes a list that takes me about ten minutes to get through. But, today…today all I could say is “I am grateful to be alive,” over and over and over and over. It’s that simple today. I am just grateful to be alive; grateful that there is blood running through my veins and my heart is beating and my lungs are growing smaller and bigger,
smaller and bigger,
smaller and bigger.
Find love today. Be love today. Give love today.