I am sitting in my chair at work as I write this. It’s 5:07PM and I started thinking about the day.
September 11th, 2014.
It was 13 years ago when our country, and indeed our world as a result, were changed by a comparative handful of individuals.
When people speak about this day, it’s usually in an, “us vs them” mentality. “We were attacked by them.” “They wanted to hurt us.” “Our country was attacked.” “We need to make them pay.”
There were thousands of deaths in relation to those attacks, and the World Trade Center towers were aptly named. This may have been an ideological attack against the citizens of the United States, or an attack against the United States Government.
In reality, it was an attack on the world. Thousands of lives were gone in moments. As a result, our world became a darker place. A scarier place. A place that was a little grimmer.
I don’t wonder what the world would be like today if such an attack hadn’t happened – such fanciful thoughts do nothing to further the collective consciousness of our planet. Instead, I wonder how we can recover from such an activity with more grace than the last time.
The world became a place where, in some places more than others, people were constantly scared. Always locking their doors, carrying concealed weapons, and looking on their neighbor distrustfully.
Especially if that neighbor looked different than they did.
In the past, when people have mentioned to me an ache in their heart when they think about the suffering of others, I didn’t understand what they meant. I understand suffering from a logical perspective. I detail and catalog the details that make up the suffering as a whole, and then parse through them to determine which are the worst, and the best ways to help them.
This is largely ineffective when it comes to emotional distress.
When I think about the world that we are in now, though, I feel… what may be described as a painful numbness. The kind that sits in the middle of your chest, and you know it should hurt, but it just feels like a heavy weight that pulls you down.
It reminds me, in part, of depression.
So I looked at the world again, today, with the eyes of the 15 year old kid who had a car accident that morning, September 11, 2001. I look at the world and I see a world depressed, downtrodden, and without hope.
As anyone who doesn’t suffer from depression could tell you, “of course there’s hope!” But if you’re depressed, it seems like a flat, grey, endless wasteland stretching in every direction. You can’t see that just beyond your vision is an oasis that you can rest in, and it’ll only take a little bit of time to get there.
My 15 year old self wants to remind the world that there is hope. That just because there are a few individuals out there who might want to hurt us, we cannot allow ourselves to wrap ourselves in protective blankets that are smothering us to death.
You can be afraid. You can be so scared that the very thought of stepping out of your door is nigh unimaginable.
That’s okay. It’s normal.
Do not let that fear cripple you and prevent you from living your life. Have courage – in yourself, and your fellow man.
Gandhi suggested, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Have peace; have love; live life to the fullest and smile as often as you can.
There will be time enough for tears later.