Today isn’t an easy day.
The past month has been insane. My older brother gets married in four days, and I’ve been constantly buried in school and work as a babysitter. Life is crazy. I feel like I’m sleepwalking through the days. I’ve been in a daze, just doing one thing and another and another, taking every day in stride.
But last night, I woke up. I sat at the island in my friend’s kitchen, laughing with my mom and friend, and I turned on my phone as I got a message. The date flashed as September 10th, and I just froze.
How do you respond to forgetting something that you spent so much time on and dealing with? I think about it everyday, but somehow it just came out of nowhere. It hit me all at once, and I couldn’t stop the tears that fell. Why was I crying? I’m not even sure. But it all fell on my heart and I broke apart. Not because of the pain, though that was certainly there. But because I thought of how lucky I am.
It was sobering. I went to bed thinking, “18 years ago, 2,997 people went to sleep for the last time.” So many people. So many dreams. So many plans. And then all of those became simply memories by their loved ones. Eventually, all the little quirks, little phrases, little unique things that those people used to do, slowly fade to an old cherished memory that we hold dear to our hearts.
Which brings me to a topic that most people don’t really spend much time on every day. Especially on a day like today that is so painful and hard for thousands, even millions, of people.
Think about this for a second.
How blessed are we?
How blessed to be the ones who get to remember? The ones that get to say “hey, remember when…” or “do you ever think about…”, or even something as simple as “what are you doing tomorrow?”
How blessed are we to be the ones who get to live out those dreams, those plans, to be the ones to create and keep all of these memories that we get to hold dear?
Every single day we live, we are so incredibly blessed.
For the past month (months, really), I’ve just been in such a daze. It’s just “do this, then this, then this…” every single day that I live. Taking one moment at a time. But these moments are fleeting.
No one knows what the next day, the next hour, the next minute, the next second, will bring. It takes one blink of an eye to change everything.
Sometimes it’s not a good change. Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes it changes everything for everyone. People far beyond yourself or your family.
As a person who likes control and likes making sure everything is okay for everyone… you could say that I’m not a fan of change.
It’s hard for me to accept the passing seasons of life.
It’s hard for me to accept it when it is something that has changed life as I know it. It’s worse when it causes pain to not only myself, but the people surrounding me.
When I think about 9/11, it’s a hard day. But… I wasn’t even born yet. I wasn’t even a thought. Yet because of one moment, one dream, one plan to create something bigger than myself to keep the memory of those people alive, it became a part of me. A very big part of me. I carried it with pain for so long. Every dream that I had about it, or time I talked about a specific scene in my book, or even just talked about why Lane is the way she is… it was like tearing open an old wound. It hurt. A lot. And what I feel is nothing compared to the people that were directly affected.
Everything changed for everyone on that day. And when I became aware of it, I didn’t respond to that change very well.
But now I see it with new eyes. I see it as an opportunity. An opportunity to come before all of you and share my heart in ways that I didn’t think would be possible. I see it as an opportunity for God to work through me and in me. He has opened my eyes and enlightened me to be more empathetic. To be different. To be the person I am today. The person He wanted me to become.
The 2,997 people that were killed on September 11, 2001, impacted all of us. Even the people that didn’t know them. It’s not an easy thing to swallow, even for a girl who wasn’t there and wasn’t even alive on that day. But one thing that we have to remember, is that they lived.
They aren’t just people in a history book.
They were born of a man and woman. They opened their eyes for the first time to a brand new world. They took their first toddling steps. They learned the alphabet. They went to school. They smiled, and laughed, and loved. They all had stories. They lived life. One moment at a time.
And because they lived, their deaths were not in vain. They have changed all of us. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we would not be the same people if they hadn’t lived or that attack hadn’t happened. It’s changed all of us. They have impacted our lives, because THEY lived.
We can’t forget that these people were real people.
Today is not only a day of remembrance, respect, and honor.
Today is a day to live.
Today is a day we are blessed with. Even the pain we feel is a blessing because it opens our eyes. Without the things that I’ve seen, I’ve read, and I’ve written… without the pain that I’ve felt… I would not be the person I am today.
I was talking to my mom about history the other day, and it brought me to this conclusion.
I don’t really like history, but I love MY history. No, it’s not all pretty. There are parts that are painful, there are memories that really hurt, and I’ve made countless mistakes that could even be called unforgivable. But. If every mistake I’ve ever made, every scar I’ve ever borne, every tear I’ve ever cried, and every sin I’ve ever committed has been for the sole purpose of just getting me here… to this point in my life, to this very moment, to have these scars that tell this story, to have these people that I love surrounding me… then I’ll accept forgiveness and thank God for every single one.
Today is a day to remember, and to thank God for the days you’ve been blessed with. So that’s what I’m going to do.
Today, I’m going to live. I’m going to walk with the memories of the people I love in my mind, and the thoughts and prayers for the hurting families on my heart.
Today, I’m going to thank Him for all the blessings in disguise. To thank Him for the memories.
Don’t take this life for granted.
Live for them.