I was all of 20 minutes outside of NYC when the towers were destroyed on that fateful day 20 years ago. I can recall most every detail about that morning, the people I was with and what was happening.
I cannot recall a lot of the details of the days afterwards. Life had to resume, but it was so very different than before.
Most everyone had a powerful personal story to tell.
We were all riveted to the news, mostly trying to gain understanding. How? Why? Now what?
Though the story of where I was is interesting and full of intrigue, I am choosing to spend this space talking about my own personal aftermath.
I remember the incredible feeling that life is short and should not be taken for granted.
I had an opportunity to do something I was passionate about and found myself taking it.
I learned so much during that time and would never trade the experiences I had, the places I went, and the people I met. I worked harder than ever, but passion has a way of changing things. It didn’t often feel like work at all.
Sacrifice was up close and personal. I came to understand it in a new way. People were giving up personal goods, money, time, and safety. They were risking their health in rescue and cleanup efforts and sending loved ones off to foreign countries to protect us from repeated attacks.
I was moved by the generosity of strangers to one another.
Suddenly nothing that we possessed was as important as each other.
The adoption plan I had in mind and the timeline I had drawn out was crushed by 9/11. The INS (later to be renamed Homeland Security) in Newark, New Jersey was understandably busy hunting for terrorists; placing the fingerprints for approval for the adoption of a foreign-born child on a back burner. Like way to the back. Keep going, think of the very last burner on a very large stove. It was such a painful time as each day brought hope and anticipation followed by an empty mailbox.
The baby boy I pictured myself holding was lost. I have to admit that I was grieving and that my faith was heavily tested during this time. I did not lose a loved one during the attacks, but in truth, I did.
I felt selfish for grieving.
I am truly sorry for each of you who lost someone you love.
Grace became palpable as my son became known to me by birthdate, by name, by photo, and then finally by touch. As the story unfolded in the way in which it did, I understood the Divine in a new way. I wasn’t going to have the easy, straightforward path, but I would have a miraculous one. This year, as the “children of 9/11” turn 20, so does my own son. Our story is intermingled somewhere with theirs.
I am grateful for the timeline that was different from what I pictured.
I am grateful for the child that was not created in my womb, but rather in my heart.
I am grateful he came along when he did and not sooner for I might not recognize
that he is a gift not to be taken for granted.
I am grateful for the lessons of this day and I am grateful that they have never become lost on me.
What did you learn as an outcome of September 11th?
How did it affect your story?
How did it change your perspective?
May we never forget any of it!