Oh, wow. How was it already 20 years ago?
And yet, anyone who was alive that day remembers it like it was yesterday.
It was a day I realized I was living in a false sense of security. I’d heard there were terrorists, heard that they had tried to take down the WTC in the past, but it wasn’t anything I felt threatened by. Ignorance was bliss— for me. And so many like me.
The night before the attack, I had an attack of my own. I started crying for absolutely no reason. I couldn’t figure out what had triggered it. I wasn’t even sure of the exact emotion I was feeling. It wasn’t sadness or anger. It was just pure overwhelm. I cried myself to sleep that night.
It wasn’t until months after the attack that I remembered that night of September 10th, and I knew. This may sound strange, but it was as if my higher self wanted to warn me— not about the attack— but about the change the was coming, and the abruptness of it, the magnitude of the shift it would create for all of us, removing how secure we felt in our comfortable little lives, how we saw and related to one another, how hated we were by some parts of the world, how expendable human life was to them.
For many of us, it caused us to shift directions.
My circle of friends got started right away getting married and having babies. I knew people who quit their jobs abruptly and got started looking for a career that fulfilled them. Some got out of bad relationships. Others started traveling. Our lives became shorter. We had less time. We didn’t want to wait any longer to do everything we ever wanted to do because it was the first time we realized the fragility of our lives.
Tomorrow was not guaranteed.
I see so many social media posts about how we came together as a nation and let differences go. Yes. I felt and appreciated that, too. But even that was an illusion. The truth is, that love we passed back and forth was only reserved for those who looked like us. White Americans.
The hate crimes against people of color sky-rocketed. Many of them were Americans too, but we didn’t mean to include THEM, did we. We only felt united together because we were against something else. We didn’t grow closer in love. We united together in hate.
In fact, to this day, I see people wave their American flags, and their blue lives matter flags, and remove abortion rights because they truly believe they are saving babies from hateful murderers… and I think they truly believe they are on the side of love.
Love of what?
White American Christian Men? Patriarchy? The right to not get vaccinated or wear a mask? No, it’s their love of freedom and their desire to protect their white American privilege. And they can’t REALLY do that unless they are against anything that threatens that. So, ask yourself, are they driven by love? Or hate?
I am not pretending there is an easy answer to this. If I knew what it was I would shout it from the mountain tops and use it to heal the world. Love helps, but it often shows up in disguise. It’s used against us so often now that we don’t even know what is real anymore. We are vulnerable, but we have the ability to become strong. I still believe that, and I will keep searching for the way to heal until I find it or die trying.
Final note: If you have not seen “Come From Away”, don’t wait. You can stream it now on Apple TV. It’s a beautiful way to honor and remember those who perished, all of those lives lost— people who left loved ones behind— and all those heroes.
Heroes who wore official badges, and many who did not.
Don’t deny yourself this beautiful story of what happened in one corner of the world on 9/11. We ALL have a story to tell about that day. For years, and even now, we tell others where we were when we first heard about it, where we watched the video of the planes, how we didn’t turn off our TVs for weeks, how it changed us… that day our perception of what we believed about our lives was shaken to its core.
The story about what happened to a small town of people in Newfoundland is worth hearing. Don’t deny yourself because you think it will be hard to watch, or because it will pull at your heart strings and make you cry. I promise, it will REPLENISH YOU.