An excerpt from the book, “The Light in 9/11: Shocked by Kindness, Healed by Love”
By Lisa Luckett
In the first days after 9/11, I was frantically looking for my husband, Teddy. I can still remember this intense, driving need I felt to go into the city to look for him myself . I felt frantic, even though, in my logical mind, I knew he probably would never be found. The agitation and pressure was nagging and constant. With three small children to care for and a house filled with people, I was frustrated beyond description that I couldn’t abandon my responsibilities and go there, but there was nothing I could do to change my situation.
Three mornings after 9/11, I was standing in my busy kitchen with a dozen or so people milling around. A friend that I recognized from church came in unexpectedly. I was surprised to see him, since we didn’t know each other that well.
Stanley was the Fire Chief and Borough Administrator in the next town over. He walked in quietly and stood next to me with his hands in his pockets. As he looked down at me, I looked up and saw that he was clearly upset and fighting his emotions. Then, with a deep breath he stood up straight and regained his strong demeanor.
Slowly, he pulled his hand out of his pants pocket and said to me sincerely in a quiet voice, “Lisa, I went to Ground Zero yesterday looking for Teddy. I had this with me, and I want you to have it.” He opened his hand to reveal a small, silver, coin-like medal with a winged angel embossed on it. “It’s a pocket angel,” he said.
When I touched the pocket angel to take it from his hand, a wave of dizziness and rush of tingles coursed through my body. I felt connected to Ground Zero. Just like a port key from the Harry Potter series–it was as if I had been magically transported to the site. In that instant, a sense of calm washed over me, and the pressure to get into the city suddenly dissipated. I no longer had to go; it was as if I had already been there.
I truly believe that the pocket angel was mystical. It allowed me to get to Ground Zero in my own time. Although tiny in size, the pocket angel is the single most astonishing gift I received throughout my 9/11 experiences. It is one of the core, foundational elements of Cozmeena kindness.
One spring day in 2006, my kids and I were playing with polymer baking clay. Because the pocket angel had meant so much to me, I was inspired to make Pocket Hearts — something whimsical in memory of Teddy’s light-hearted love and playful spirit. Over the next few months, I perfected the technique of twisting, folding, and pinching the clay into the shape of a heart. The Pocket Heart became my favorite way of sharing the love that my kids and I have received since 9/11.
Since 2006, I have been sharing Pocket Hearts by pulling them out of my pocket and holding them in the palm of my hand, just as Stanley did when he gave me the pocket angel. I go through my day passing them out randomly to friends and strangers as they cross my path.
I say, “Please take a Pocket Heartfor luck and love.” And in the next moment, with a wink and a smile I say, “Don’t be surprised — they’re a little magic, too.”
Over the years I have received hundreds of charming and beautiful stories about Pocket Hearts. People say that when they find them — in jacket pockets from the season before, in the bottom of their purse, or in the well of their car console — it always gives them a lift and makes them smile. People have held them through surgery, when babies were being born, while taking tests, and while traveling to distant places.
It is very interesting how men respond. Sometimes they’re a little gruff when they take them, but months later, I learn that they never leave home without it.
Although people want to buy the Pocket Hearts, I know that selling them would mess with their magic. However, there are plans to develop a Pocket Heartkit in the future, so that people can make their own.
Like knitting, playing with clay is not just fun for me; it is a functional meditation. When I’m not knitting, you’ll find me making Pocket Hearts,as I’ve been doing since 2006.
The Pocket Heart is a tangible metaphor and daily reminder of the wonder and beauty, the unparalleled love, support, and kindness, the patriotism and unity, and the resilience of the human spirit that is the Godness of 9/11. As of this writing, there are more than 40,000 Pocket Heartscirculating in the world today. It is my hope that one day all the Pocket Heartswill connect, as seeds of love, bringing together like-minded people in a gentle, light-hearted Kindness Revolution.
The lessons learned since Teddy’s death, along with my treatment for breast cancer in 2009, have brought me to a place of strength, understanding, and emotional soundness that would never have occurred without these two life-changing events. These experiences have taught me that almost all traumatic, sad and/or frightening events include a certain beauty or ‘silver-lining’ that allows for incredible, personal growth if one can shift their perspective long enough to see it.
Approximately 40,000 Pocket Hearts have distributed since Spring 2006 and the number grows daily.