“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” ~ C.S. Lewis
The day after 9/11 is when I felt the numbness.
On September 11, 2001, I was driving to an out-of-town meeting when Mary Beth called. She was watching the morning news. Like everyone, she was trying to sort through what she was seeing.
Before our phone conversation ended, the second plane struck. My wife witnessed the act. I became frustrated that I was unable to console her or anyone else for that matter. My sense of helplessness was shared by millions of others, I’m sure.
I completed the business trip and returned home later that evening. We ate dinner in front of the television news and kept watching until our eyes grew too heavy, and weary, to watch.
The next day Mary Beth called and asked if we could meet for lunch. I agreed and we decided to meet at the Whole Foods market. She arrived first and was standing at the salad bar when I arrived. When she saw me, her tears started again.
She reached for me and I held her.
It didn’t matter if others watched because a sense of sorrow surrounded everyone -a special unity I’d never experienced before. In my haste to get back home on 9/11, I didn’t stop long enough to feel what was happening. In that moment, I felt the sadness with painful clarity.
Standing in our safe world of organic vegetables and practical convenience, we felt vulnerable. Our world had changed. Trust was gone. From that day forward everything and everybody was considered a threat unless proved otherwise.
In that moment, I knew we had left Eden forever.
September 11, 2011
We went back to living after September 11, 2001. Our attention shifted back to the ordinary – our relationships, our jobs and the lives we once knew.
But life had indeed changed forever.
Today, we scan the other airline passengers trying to detect a threat. We hold our breaths as we enter tunnels and let it out with sweet relief when we see daylight once again. Today, our diligence to be on constant guard is leaving us weary.
We went back to living, only with less security of what the next moment would bring.
But if 9/11 caused the world to lose Eden forever, then it’s also responsible for the new gardens that are springing up. These gardens have reminders to appreciate the time we have; to savor every moment and to never let an opportunity go by without telling those closest to us how much we love them.
What is A Simple Path?
This post is in A Simple Path, a series of short pieces inspired by my own life experiences. Each post is a simple path to experiencing something wonderful: maybe seeing life from a different perspective, or celebrating its beauty. Click here to read all posts in the series.