Wow! Tomorrow is September 11, again. Where does the time go?
Last year, I posted the 9/11 Kindness Challenge on FB and was shocked and honored to see that it was shared over 300 times. Could it be that people are looking for a new direction? In it I asked that you keep your Pocket Heart close by to prompt a thoughtful act of kindness and love, in memory of Teddy Luckett and all the beautiful souls we lost that day, in the hopes of making something good come from the devastation we experienced together in this world and life-changing event. Because all these years later, we are still in this together, whether it feels like it or not.
Each year, the anniversary of 9/11 is a heavy day that weighs on us all. For everyone who was age four or more, you can remember the details of exactly where you were and what you were doing on that fateful morning when the planes hit the WTC Towers, The Pentagon, and crashed in Shanksville, PA. All it takes is the mention of 9/11 in a conversation, or seeing an image on television, and that memory comes back to you in an instant.
But here’s a crazy statistic. This year, September 2017, anyone entering freshman year in high school wasn’t even on the planet yet. A complete generation of people has been born since September 11, 2001. This next generation, the children of tomorrow, only know 9/11 as a story. Could that be a good thing?
Maybe now, enough time has passed that we can begin to see 9/11 in a new light. Maybe now we can decide to let go of our fear and see instead the beauty that surrounds us. Maybe now we can give ourselves permission to heal and move forward with a new courage, strength and knowledge gained from life-experience. Maybe now we can see that life is for the living. That we are not dishonoring or disrespecting our dead by moving forward as long as we do it with greater understanding and deeper wisdom having grown and learned from the experience.
Because 16 years later, the question is, are we better for having lived it? Are we smarter? Are we wiser? Do we have more depth of character? What have we learned?
It is with heartfelt love, respect, and honor for my husband Teddy Luckett, and all those who perished on 9/11, that I have been searching for meaning and a way to make something good come from this nightmare. I vowed within days of 9/11 that I would never let them die in vain. I promised to spend my life searching for answers to the ‘why’ of everything. This work has delivered a fantastic new understanding of myself, our culture, and our world that I will share with you in the coming months but for today I ask you this…
While this will always be a day for quiet reflection, when you hug those closest to you with gratitude and appreciation, while remembering the tragic event that shook us to our core and changed our lives forever, that you also remember that in that dark, dark hour, deep and profound love was right there too.
Shift back and remember how we banded together in the greatest show of unity, patriotism, and camaraderie unparalleled since WWII. Remember instead how with love, goodness, and a warrior spirit we saw the best of humanity rise through the wreckage and fight through it with tenacity and strength and courage and love. Remember that we functioned as a unified ‘one’ instead of a country of separates.
A priest who worked at Ground Zero during the 9 months of rescue and recovery mission told this story….
He said people would ask him over and over,
“How could God let this happen??!! How could God let this happen??!!”
And his reply was this,
“This wasn’t the work of God. This was the work of brilliant evil…..
What came afterward was God.”
As Americans we didn’t have any experience to draw from on that tragic day. We didn’t know that given enough time, everything would be okay. Different, yes; a new normal, yes. At that time we couldn’t imagine that one-day things would settle down and again be okay.
Although the world has changed exponentially in the past 16 years, many, many good things have happened in that time too. But because the negative stories carry so much more weight and are told with much more volume and intensity, we have trouble hearing and holding onto the positive ones.
And while we are living through a time of remarkable struggle, it’s the struggle that will deliver us to a positive, new normal; because without struggle there is no growth. Letting go and trusting the struggle is the key to everything.
I tell my children that the struggle never ends no matter how old you are. I still struggle everyday as I push myself through the discomfort of trying new things, writing blogs and books and trying to launch a business. I’m learning to be an empty-nested mom with an unknown future. I’m learning to live as a single person pushing 60. But at the end of the day, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable it is, I wouldn’t change a thing. Life is still a gift; the world is still a beautiful, fascinating and awe-filled place. I am still curious and intrigued and so grateful to be here, struggling away.
So, I ask you that for this year’s anniversary of 9/11, let it be a day to remember how much we have (because we have so much). Let it be a day to remind ourselves that we have a choice in how we see our lives — through a lens of love or through a lens of fear. Let it be a day to remember that we are strong and far more resilient than we think. Let it be a day to be brave and honorable and kind. Let it be a day of forgiveness, love and kindness for everyone, but mostly for yourself.
Can this 16th Anniversary 9/11 be the beginning of a new era? Can this year be the one where we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and decide to do things and see things differently? Can we show our children how to let go of anger, fear, blame, resentment, and victimization and be open to seeing things in a new and positive way?
May this September 11, 2017 be the first day of our beautiful and brilliant new future where we focus more on the love than on the hate making this year’s 9/11 Kindness Challenge, the “ See the Love Not the Hate Kindness Challenge”.
So keep your Pocket Heart close by and remember that kindness is the salve to sooth the hate and that together we can do our small part to help make the world a better place.
With love, gratitude, and hope for a year filled with openness, unity, and positive change…
P.S. Please share if you agree and let’s take this movement forward together…