What a difference a year makes, let alone eleven.
I still remember a beautiful September day, much like today, casually arriving at my office across the street from my apartment in Cleveland. I was starting my day perusing work emails when I received a personal one telling me to check CNN. A plane had hit the WTC. At first thought it must be a serious accident but as I had just recently embarked on a lifelong dream to learn to be a pilot I quickly realized that a) this was not a normal flight route and b) the pilots would have done the best they can to avoid such a thing from happening. My first instinct and thought then was that this was no accident but I still harbored some doubt. I rushed back across the street in a turned on the TV, waking my girlfriend at the time. She was sleeping on my couch and groggily asked what was going on. I said what had happened in clipped sentences and that I thought it might just be a really bad accident. CNN was on the screen with an image of the North Tower ablaze. About a minute later we watched the camera angle shift to a wider shot of the WTC.
The second plane hit.
This was no accident. My thoughts raced. What about my sister, my friends and all the people I knew who would be traveling on the subway underneath around that time? What about my cousins who worked there, one in each tower?
As the day wore tiredly and tragically on I would learn they were all thankfully safe. Days, weeks, months and even years later we would all hear stories of “saving” circumstances: a missed alarm here, an early arrival there, “just a feeling” causing one to pause, etc. That day, I think, we all felt impotent in the face of what was unfolding.
Eleven years later.
I have met my deepest love and married her. We have an amazing son, a newly minted one year old who is just at the beginning – innocent of all the shadows that precede. And I am hopeful that all our shadows do not offend but color a richer tapestry from which he, and all of us, can continually draw new breath.
“We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.” – D.H. Lawrence