Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On the 11th anniversary of 9/11

I woke up this morning with the song Englishman In New York in my head. One line in particular kept coming back to me, "Be yourself, no matter what they say."

I didn't even know I knew the lyrics. In fact, I went back to check them and make sure I wasn't making that up. And there they were, but it's the line before that got me:

It takes a man to suffer ignorance and smile
Be yourself no matter what they say

In my email today, the daily article from Obit Magazine suggested I go to what they called an exquisite web-based 9/11 memorial. The Make History page of the National 9/11 Memorial is soliciting stories from people's experiences of 9/11. I have to admit, I didn't even look further than the opening page.

On her blog today, Brene Brown writes that her 9/11 tradition is to buy a couple dozen petit fours and drop them off at a local fire station with a note that simply says, "We appreciate you." She writes,
I started my research right before 9/11 and if there's one thing I've learned over the past decade, it's this: We're still in a lot of fear and pain about the events that took place that day and how they marked a huge change in our world. I also learned that the best way to overcome fear and to heal hurt is by practicing gratitude and kindness.

In this big, loud, anxious world, the small things matter so much.
I'm not sure why this year's commemoration of 9/11 seems particularly tender to me. Perhaps because it's a Tuesday, and that was a Tuesday. Perhaps it was realizing that the youth going through the confirmation program I worked to develop are not going to have any memories of that day. Perhaps it's simply because it's a quiet morning and I can allow myself to sit and think and feel, and there they are, thoughts and feelings, looking for a little attention.

And so I'm going to allow myself to feel tender, despite the voice in my head that says, "why is this troubling you? Why aren't you over it? How did this really affect you?" I'll suffer the voices' ignorance and smile. My tenderness is my own, whether it should be there or not. I'm grateful for the chance to sit in silence and reflect.

Be kind to one another today. And every day.


Anonymous said...

This afternoon we started our faculty meeting with a moment of silence for the University graduates who died on September 11. I didn't know any of them myself, but I found myself in tears anyway. All of which to say I wholeheartedly agree that this is a day to be gentle with ourselves and with others. Thank you for posting.

piman said...

I spent the day thinking about that day too. I think it was because it was Tuesday. My office is close to the airport. The next few days I will think about the eerie silence when the planes were grounded.

Anonymous said...

Oh, the silence of the sky, I had forgotten that - and thank you for reminding me. I had just come back from France a few days before, I went to the newsstand for the French papers - and realized only then that of course the same planes that were no longer carrying people were no longer carrying print. In the days after September 11, I learned to read the news on-line for the first time. How long ago that seems, now that the New York Times arrives in my electronic in-box every morning - and yet how close whenever I go to the airport.