I am going to dedicate this post to memories today.
It is a day that, if you lived anywhere in the US, you can probably recall with very vivid memory. I know I can. In fact, I am writing this, sitting in the same restaurant chain where I met a friend to pray with shortly after the attacks happened. I needed her support that day. I feared for my family in New York. I briefly panicked when I couldn’t remember if and where my husband was traveling that week. I remember my daughter coming home from school in tears because her school wouldn’t let me call her to see if her great grandmother in New York was OK. I so clearly remember thinking that life would never be anywhere near normal again. The feelings, the fear, the flow and the events of that day are burned in my memory and probably will be for as long as I have cognitive function……
This memory is extremely powerful. It has changed my perception of a lot of things. Although I have always respected those in public service, I have an even greater appreciation for the sacrifices that public servants make to protect their fellow man. I am much more aware of what is going on in the world, and make a conscious effort to understand those that are different than me. I pay more attention to my surroundings. I look for exit signs and escape routs when I am in public places. Overall, I realize the world is not always a safe place.
But, even though my perceptions have changed, that event and this memory does not define me. It does not change who I am or control me. As much as the horror of that day could have crippled me and the rest of this country, I took strength and shelter in my loved ones, my community, my places of worship, and my faith in this country. I did not let this event or this memory take over my life.
This memory is specific to September 11, 2001. I know that this was a day of unfathomable pain for so many. I can not even imagine what so many others went through, and I would never even think of trying to minimize or deny those people their pain.
But, any memory, whether it be of this day or another memory, does not have to define us. Our memories and experiences will undoubtedly change our perceptions and become a part of our personal stories. But, we do have the ability to use those memories to make a difference in ourselves, in our relationships, or in our communities.