ROXANNE ROWLEY: Reclaiming September 11

By ROXANNE ROWLEY
Guest Columnist

It is very hard to believe that 18 years have gone by since that dreadful day when the World Trade Center was struck by planes on Sept. 11, 2001, causing the deaths of almost 3,000 souls and injuries to more than 6,000 people.

The shockingly tragic videos were played over and over that day and for several days afterward. Those images became forever imprinted into the very fibers of our consciousness on that tragic day that is now known as 9/11.

It was a bewildering and frightening time. We sought comfort in the company of our family, our friends and our spiritual leaders. Each person had their way to deal with the aftermath. We talked, we raged, we cried, we prayed, we sought solace in nature. Eventually most of us slowly healed, but in the dark recesses of our minds it became easier to be cynical, to mistrust others. And that was another one of the tragedies of that fateful day.

Unfortunately for those like my younger brother and so many others who were born on Sept. 11, the day of their birth is now forever tainted by those awful recollections. The memory of that day hangs over their heads like a dark cloud every year when their birthday comes around.

How wonderful it would be if we could somehow pay tribute those who died on 9/11, as well as do something to help those born on Sept. 11 reclaim their birthday. Perhaps the cultivation of kindnesses on that particular day could be a balm on that spiritual wound that still exists for some of us. Those kind acts could serve as a way to reclaim Sept. 11 and continue the restoration of our mental and psychic health.

Acts of kindness are deliberate and purposeful. It costs nothing or very little to act with consideration toward others. Things like opening a door for someone, smiling at a stranger, calling and checking on an elderly neighbor, visiting a nursing home, reading to a child, sharing the bounty of your garden, mowing the neighbor’s lawn, writing a note to a friend you haven’t seen in awhile, telling your teen you love him or her, making breakfast in bed for your spouse or partner and washing your mom or dad’s car. Pay it forward at your coffee shop or movie theater to surprise the person after you. Buy flowers for a friend. Better yet, buy flowers to give to a stranger. Make cookies for workers at your favorite business. Volunteer at a food bank, senior center, school or favorite organization. The list of deeds is endless and only limited by your imagination.

As the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, the 14th Dalai Lama said, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” And reclaiming Sept. 11 with kind deeds just seems like a good way to help heal the soul.

Roxanne Rowley is a retired early childhood educator and consultant. She enjoys writing and has had numerous articles published related to early childhood issues.

 

 

Leave a Reply