Flowers and Ashes

My heart is full today for two very different groups of people: everyone who lost someone 14 years ago today; and everyone celebrating a birthday, an anniversary, a victory, or some other milestone today. I guess there might even be people who fall into both groups, which must make today very challenging.

Like everyone, I know where I was and what I was doing when the planes hit the World Trade Center: coloring with sidewalk chalk outside my house on a brilliant fall day with my toddler. When my then-husband pulled up in his car and shouted that a plane had flown into one of the towers, I actually laughed, because I thought for some weird reason I couldn’t fathom that he was joking. Even watching the second tower come down live on television was surreal. For weeks and weeks afterward, my son built towers out of everything he could think of–and knocked them down, repeatedly. I don’t think he understood what had happened, but he knew that it had gotten a big reaction from mom and dad and was processing it in his own way.

And what of those who, when the towers came down, when the other planes crashed, were celebrating?
I’m guessing those celebrations came crashing to a halt pretty much then and there. And every year, on their birthday, their wedding anniversary, the anniversary of the day they had a clean cancer scan, how must it feel, to have this be a national day of mourning and tragedy?

How would it feel to be both a celebrant and in grief at the same time?

This is life every day, but this day, God, the Universe, and a terrorist group took a big yellow highlighter and underscored it for all of us. Birth and death. Ecstasy and tragedy. Victory and loss. They’re happening every day, all the time, on admittedly a less dramatic scale.

Bright love and light to all grieving and remembering today. Sparkles and joy to those deservedly celebrating a milestone today. Our hearts can be big enough and compassionate enough to hold space for both.

Blessed be.

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