I opened up my Facebook this morning and suddenly remembered. It is September 11th. As I scroll through my news feed on Facebook, I am reminded of that horrible day as Bob the Builder blares in the background. I see pictures of horror, and I see simple statements from friends like, “never forget”. I see tributes to first responders and soldiers, and I see others posting their typical political rants including pictures of top politicians with the words liars in big letters. And, while I appreciate the reminder, in fact, I would dare say I even needed it as a stay at home mom who frequently doesn’t know what day it is, I was also reminded of the fact that we are still a nation divided, not united.
I think for a moment about how that day changed my life. I was in college, and had not yet met my husband. I was getting ready to go to class and saw the news. I froze. I had to keep getting ready and drove to class in a stunned fog listening to the radio the whole way. I got there, and thankfully, class was cancelled. We all went home. That was the day I became a news junkie. I think we all did.
I’m sure I called my parents, although I don’t remember what was said, and I felt the long-held belief that I lived in a safe country where nothing would ever happen to me, fade away. I was 24 years old.
A couple of years ago, on the 10 year anniversary, I chose to sit down and watch some documentaries to remember. It was painful, to say the least. There were still things I had never heard, and I became depressed again. For days. I looked at my kids with a sense of fear, and worried about their future instead of my own. I vowed on that anniversary of 9/11 that I wouldn’t do that to myself again.
And, here I am today. Busy. Caught up in the hustle and bustle of taking care of my little family, but I think it’s important to remember. To “never forget”. But, now, I want to do it in a different way. In a way that’s not so painful.
I think of my littlest yesterday. He was so happy to be playing with a balloon. I reminded him to not let go because we were in my bedroom where I have very high ceilings. And, of course, he let go. I laughed, and threw my hands up in the air and told him, “Sorry baby, but I can’t reach it now. It’s too high.” He looked confused and darted from the room. I knew exactly where he was going.
His little 21-month- old self was running to the bathroom to grab the step stool. I smiled as he brought it into the room and climbed up on top of it. It was adorable and funny.
But, then, he stood there so expectantly. With so much faith. How was I going to explain to that young little mind that it still wasn’t quite high enough? Even if his Daddy, who is 6’3 climbed on top of our very tall dresser, he still wouldn’t be able to reach it. We just had to wait for it to come down.
But, he reached. And, then he started to get upset.
And, of course, at that point, I stopped taking pictures. And did what any mother would do. I tried to explain, tried to comfort, and tried to make it OK. He moved on eventually, and life was good. But, I was reminded of a scripture in that moment, “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven”
Children are the perfect example of faith. Perfect faith and hope.
So, this morning, when I was thinking about how I would “never forget”, I thought of this balloon experience the day before. I thought of my kids. And, I decided that there was a simpler way I could “never forget” instead of reliving all of the horrible experiences of that day.
I can remember every year that life is fleeting. It is short. It is beyond our control, sometimes. But, if we have Faith in a loving God, then it truly will all be OK.
I can hug my babies tighter knowing that we never know what the day will bring.
I can spend time with those that matter most, instead of taking them for granted.
I can teach my kids that we are lucky to live in a country where we are mostly safe, have freedom, can believe and think what we want, and have people willing to fight, and even die, for our rights. But, nothing is certain.
I can learn from my kids that I just need to take deep breaths. Climb up. Reach higher. And, have faith that it will all be OK.
I can teach my kids about agency. How it is a gift from God. Some people don’t use it how they should, but we should be the example to others of how to use our agency for good. To uplift, inspire, protect, and hope.
There are plenty of ways I can “never forget” without becoming fearful again. Because, if I relive, and feel depressed, and feel sad about this day every year, that doesn’t help me. It only helps those that try to give us those fears feel powerful.
What stifles their hate is our love. Our hope. Our faith. Our perseverance. Our desire to keep reaching for whatever it is that we dream for high above our heads. Even if we have to wait for a long time for it to come.