Monday, December 14, 2015

The Hurt and the Hope

My hubby and I just got back from a trip to New York City. We had an amazing time, and I'll share what we saw and all the fun things we did later in another post. But there was something that I experienced that really stuck with me and I want to share that with you first. 

September 11, 2001. Better known as 9/11. I think all of us who were alive that day can pinpoint exactly where we were and what we were doing when we heard of the terrorist attacks. Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives that day. Think about that for a minute. Think about the person you love most in the world, and multiply that person by 3,000 and that's still not enough to describe the pain and heartbreak that the victims' loved ones dealt with (and continue to do so). 

Charlie and I got up early Saturday morning and took a taxi to the 9/11 Memorial Plaza and Museum. There were people standing around holding hushed conversations. The names of the victims are inscribed in bronze around the memorial fountains and there were people gently rubbing their hands across the names. There was also a man painstakingly washing the bronze, keeping it clean from dirt and debris. The sound and sight of the rushing water, with the sunlight reflecting off the surface, instantly made me choke back tears. I don't know why it was such an immediate, physical reaction, but I kept thinking that we were on the site of the original twin towers and the immense tragedy that had taken place. 

Tribute to 9/11 at the Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum 12-12-15

We went inside to the 9/11 Museum and I remember being struck by the sheer absence of noise. Most museums, you'll hear the hustle and bustle of people, scattered conversations, and laughs. As soon as we came down the escalator, we entered into this cloud of silence. It was unlike anything I've ever experienced. 

As we moved from exhibit to exhibit, I grew increasingly upset. People always say the words "senseless tragedy" but I don't think there's a more apt description. Hearing recorded voice messages and seeing personal belongings from some of the victims really brought home the sheer magnitude of loss that took place that day. I can't imagine the thoughts going through their minds during their last moments. 

I don't write all of this to depress anybody. And the memorial and museum truly inspired a sense of profound hope in me, despite the sadness. But it just also puts in perspective how small my "problems" really are. And reinforces just how short and unexpected life can be. You never know what will happen. 

My advice - figure out what you want in life, and do whatever it takes to get yourself there. We only get one ticket to the dance. Don't waste it on "good enough" or "some day". We owe it to anyone whose life is unexpectedly cut short to not let our dreams waste away. Take that trip. Sign up for the class. Interview for your dream job. Say yes to the date. Eat weird foods. Be who you've always wanted to be. 

But most of all - never forget. 

"No day shall erase you from the memory of time." -Virgil
9/11 Museum 12-12-15

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