I woke today at 5 a.m. in California worrying. “I should get up and check the news,” I thought. “I should be sure everything is okay in New York.”
Both my children are in New York. But I don’t like to focus on the negative.I try not to worry (although I’m a worrier and was born to a worrier. I learned well.)
“If something had happened, someone would have called,” I rationalized and went back to sleep.
I awoke four hours later to find nothing on the news but the memorial at Ground Zero. I cried through the remainder of it, glad I had not watched all of it. It was way too sad.
I went upstairs to my computer and left notes to both my children to be safe. They both replied. I silently gave thanks that my children were safe in their dorms.
I then texted a high school friend who used to work in the Twin Towers. Ten years ago he chose to go have breakfast with his son and go to work late. That choice saved his life. I told him how grateful I was that he was still in my life.
I posted a Facebook status. It ended this way: “Today…gratitude…just gratitude…for kids who are safe if far away…for the beautiful place I live, for my family, for life.”
My husband and I took a bike ride along the ocean this afternoon. Nothing as large as 9-11 has happened in our lives, but things have changed. Life always brings us change, and just as the 9-11 memorial fountain represents life flowing and moving forward, we peddled forward. We looked at the waves, a constant. We looked at the coastline, so beautiful.
Despite the horrific events that happen in the world and in our lives, some things never change–and that we can depend upon, we can have faith in. There will always be beauty in the world. We will always have memories, and those memories, as we say in the Jewish tradition, of our loved ones who have passed, will always be for–and a–blessing. Those memories crash upon us like the ocean waves, shocking, cleansing, refreshing. Like the vast ocean, they remind us we are part of something greater, larger…and that’s a blessing, something for which we can feel grateful.
Gratitude. Today, that’s what I felt. For the first responders. For those who helped in anyway on 9-11. For those who called their loved ones before dying. For those who prevented the plane from making it to D.C. For those willing to stand up and recite the names of those who died. For all the souls who passed on that day, and for the souls that helped them do so.