It has been ten years already since the day we all changed. Although, I did not know anyone personally who died that eventful day, like most Americans, I was deeply affected and changed by the events of 9/11 and of those that followed.
I was at work when the attacks began. I remember finding out and then closing the office. I remember going out onto the city streets in Lancaster where everything was hushed. I remember the faces of those I passed on the way to my car. I stopped for cash from the ATM. I got home to find that my husband had not yet heard. He quickly turned on the TV.
It was then that the horrific images and sounds entered and became eternally etched in my mind. I got home after the Pentagon was hit but before the plane went down in Shanksville. I remember how numb I was at first. Then appalled, then frightened, and then my sense of security was shaken to its foundations. I am blessed that my faith never wavered, although I will confess to crying out to God many times: WHY?
Later that day, I was outside and again noted how quiet it was. It was then that it hit me: there were no planes, no contrails, limited movement on the highway. It was a very spooky feeling. After a bit I picked up a distant sound and just that quick an F14 went streaking by. That truly scared me. He was low and fast. I could feel the power of that jet in my chest. As the afternoon blended into twilight they crisscrossed the sky. With TMI only a small distance away, they were patrolling.
To this day, the ensuing days of quiet skies, interrupted periodically by fighter jets, haunt me. If I see a big plane lower than they usually are, a small plane flying in an odd pattern, or a jet flashing by, my heart skips a beat. And, I wonder. I wonder what might be going on in those planes. For the briefest of moments, I feel the fear try to raise its head. I always say a prayer for them and for me.
I think what happened that day infected us all. It infected us with an ugly virus called fear and violence. Our culture has changed dramatically. I think fear has invaded our collective psyches and we express it in ways that are not always healthy. In many areas of life, people have become isolated whether to protect themselves from additional pain or because they rely too much on technology to stay in contact with others.
Something has changed. Civility took as big a hit as security did that day. At first, we all pulled together but as time progressed, we splintered as a people. We Americans have few common rally points anymore. Often there is a jump to finger-pointing, blame-finding, clique or mob mentalities, and settling disagreements with vitriol and violence. This is very evident in our political leaders who do not seem to be able to work together at all any more. It seems that people have forgotten how to truly listen to each other, respect those who have different opinions, and be willing to compromise for the higher good.
On the other side of that are the people who were forever changed in a different way. The ones who were rattled out of complacency. The ones who began to explore the more important questions in life. The ones who looked for purpose and meaning.
I have been moved to grow and develop. My spiritual journey these past ten years has led me to places where I can say I am a better person than I was before 9/11. I am certainly more focused, more mature, more spiritually aware.
I want to help dispel the darkness and fear, if only for a moment. I want to help others on their spiritual paths. I want to add Light to the world. I want to be part of the healing. I want to be part of helping the Light overcome the darkness.
Things will not return to where they were on 9/10/01; too much was changed by those senseless acts of inhumanity. I do believe however that we can all grow and move to a place of higher purpose if we choose to.
I think about 9/11 frequently. It challenges me. It calls me. It requires something of me. Does it of you?
Healing Blessings to all.