Appreciating the Little Things After 9/11

It’s funny how catastrophic events remain fresh in our minds and how we can recall the details as if they happened only seconds ago. I remember that beautiful, Tuesday morning; the sky was blue over Ohio and there was a crispness to the air that Autumn was on her way. I was watching the Today Show and drinking coffee, waiting to head off to work my second-shift job as an aide at an assisted living community. This was a typical Tuesday.

Suddenly, breaking news interrupted my programming, and I saw smoke coming from The World Trade Center. I did not think “terrorists” at first, because my Midwest, country girl brain wasn’t accustom to thinking the worst in people. I yelled for my dad and said, “The news is saying a plane hit The World Trade Center.” I had no idea the impact that this day in history would have on my life and my country. I sat there, staring at the TV with tears in my eyes, like the rest of the world wondering, “why.” I had no idea how many people worked in those buildings. New York City is alien to me and I guess I never considered that it was possible to fit 2,000 people in one skyscraper. I also never considered that four planes could have that kind of an affect on an entire country. I sat there confused as to how these planes got so close to New York.

I watched people running down the streets covered in ash like they’d just come from a war. I watched firefighters scrambling with hoses, cops clearing the streets and reporters trying to find out from the witnesses what had happened. New York City was a mess. America was in a true crisis.

Years later, now that we know how that sunny Tuesday ended, I look back and think about my own daughter born in 2008. It was hard considering bringing a child into this world. I have read all of the 9/11 conspiracies, the things that went wrong in 2001, and how Bin Laden and others in the Middle East hate Americans and I found it difficult to think my child would be safe. But I think God has a plan for us all and it was His choice that my baby be born. I think about the hatred that shattered our country and then listen to her laughter and wish we could all be so innocent and non-judgmental. I wish that skin color and religion had no affect on our daily lives and that we simply loved each other with the appreciation for the little things: frogs in the water, a butterfly landing on a flower, a shooting star, or even the smell of honeysuckle in the Springtime. Our lives are so short and yet so rushed. Sometimes it’s nice to just sit and watch the clouds as they mosey across the sky and be appreciative that we can witness this marvel of nature.

I’m not sure why people want to hurt one another or what makes us feel like we are allowed to just kill innocent people, but 9/11 made me think long and hard about the little things I was missing out on in my own life. I imagine those that died that day would love just one more day in the sunshine or to watch one more butterfly on a daisy. Our jobs are not so important that we can’t just take a day off to spend with our kids. We aren’t so busy that we can’t go one day without the interruptions of a cell phone. Look at your babies and just take the time. I know the victims of 9/11 wish they were given the chance.

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