Today, as I sit in my office, hearing the intermittent roar of planes flying overhead, I am still. Purposefully still. There is an awareness that 9/11 is upon the hearts of our country again, and my own heart breaks as I picture how we all sat here on a regular morning, just like today, 12 years ago.
We heard the same planes in the same skies as we carried on with our coffee and morning routines, walking dogs and kissing cheeks. We were watching the news, taking kids to school, hearing these same planes passing from cloud to cloud, bringing people to destinations for individual, important reasons. Each one had a purpose.
I sit silently and reflect on how that same powerful sound malevolently brought evil and loss on that horrific day. The planes' passengers were people of all descents, ages, and religions, on their way to visit specific people and places... on a day just like today.
Tucked and buckled inside those planes' aisles were one-of-a-kind people typing away on laptops, taking naps, finishing mystery novels, or stirring with excitement over meeting a new grandbaby. There were schedules to keep, speeches to give, children to hug...
Or perhaps they were diligently working in their office in the Pentagon or World Trade Center, delivering a package, or going up the elevator for a job interview. Maybe they got to work early to get their presentation in, to be the first to call on the West Coast client, or to grab coffee with a colleague to chat about last night's game.
Or maybe they were firefighters, answering the call of duty like so many days before, checking equipment, waiting for the next alarm... hoping they would make it on time to save the lives waiting for them. There was purpose in that day.
On Sept. 11, 2001, they were going about business on a puffy-clouded, pre-autumn morning with the usual noise of planes flying overhead and fire engines stirring the morning commute. And like us today, they may not have heard the planes or trucks flying by because their noises can be just that -- part of the "flying by" of our lives as we move from breakfast to boardroom, seminar to celebration, clinic to classroom.
But on that day those noises changed, as terrorists made it their mission to bring the loudest of evils out of our blue skies and turn the azure hopefulness of a new morning into a black-clouded demolition of property, life and family.
As the buildings were torn apart by planes turned into bombs, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters were taken from their families... and their reasons for living... by noises they had never heard before. We that remained on the ground, in our home towns, were left in the reverberating cacophonous aftershocks of trying to handle something so wicked, so unbearable, so incomprehensible, we became paralyzed by the unrelenting noises on our screens. We watched... and we listened...
The shock, trauma and horror of the crying... searching... waiting... praying... realizing... can still be felt deep within us as we reopen the memory box from that day. We all remember exactly where we were when we heard the news change from reports of a wayward, random plane crash into the reality of a terror attack still underway on the radar of our skies.
We were listening and still for unending hours, scared and shaken in places that we had never felt before. And today, we are still recoiling, still remembering, still disbelieving... but always building hope and holding it tightly to our chests... hope that the sounds of reconstruction and recovery are making us stronger and more purposeful through the ongoing rebuilding of safety, spirit and symbolic structure.
And on this Sept. 11, as planes stir the silence from sun-filled skies and fire engines whir stridently by bustling street corners, remember that they are traveling because of LIVES. Remember that there remains meaning for all of our lives as we continue to travel forward, despite the loss, vulnerability and fear that piercingly cracked open the skies of our world on that September Tuesday.
Today, in tribute, I ask you to do something with me...
Stay aware to the sounds in the air outside and wait for the noise of an airplane or a fire truck to travel by. And when they do, stop... look... and listen.
Step outside and let those sounds find their way into your ears and through your cells, filling the space within you and around you.
Speak blessings over the people inside those planes and trucks and those waiting for them to arrive.
Speak blessings of life, safety and peace.
Speak blessings over those who lost loved ones on 9/11 and who are experiencing those same noises today as reminders of the silencing of their loved one's life.
Speak blessings of comfort, renewal and hope.
Today, may the gentle sounds of our whispered blessings rise up and join together in the September skies, covering our nation with a sheltering blanket of reverence, unity, and meaning.
Today... listen... feel... honor... bless...
And... be blessed.
For more by Dr. Karin L. Smithson, click here.
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