You’re alive, until you’re not.
They’re alive, until they’re not.
No one could have predicted that on the morning of September 11th, 2001, that over 3,000 people would lose their lives because a group of evil men hijacked airplanes and flew them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York.
The idea that life is short, fragile, wildly unpredictable, unfair, unjust, became visceral on that day.
We thought we’d never forget that feeling – and many can’t and won’t and haven’t – but as the days became months, the months became years, we slid back into our normal way of existence, maybe interrupted by a reminder here and there that life is all of the above, but for the most part, routine became the norm, and urgency became a relic.
We can talk about history, about how we must remember it and remember it as it truly was, not as we’d like to explain it.
We must talk about the lives lost on that day, and the many since.
We must also remember, that through no fault, no decision of their own, thousands went to work and were killed in a way that we’d never seen before.
If that day and that event doesn’t shake your reality to the core, nothing will.
If that day doesn’t wake you up to the reality that tomorrow is not guaranteed, and not only for you, but for those you love, you have to rethink things in a big way.
Put yourself in a woman’s shoes who drops off her kids at daycare, then heads into work as she’s done every single day for the past few years, only to never see her kids again.
Or a firefighter, who’s family is at home watching the events unfold, knowing his duty is to protect them, but also everyone else, and runs into a building to save strangers just before it collapses.
Remember the impossible, the unlikely. Being on a plane that gets hijacked and not comprehending what’s about to happen so you sit and wait, maybe thinking it’s a hostage scenario or that they’re after money, but never in your wildest dreams believing that what will happen even could happen.
For the sake of your own life, the life of your family, remember no one expecting what was to come….
…And to live your life knowing that you cannot ever know what is to come.
…And that this uncertainty should drive you to treat each day as if it were your last, their last.
Sure, it’s cliche, it’s a feeling that comes and goes. It’s hard to be urgent all of the time. It’s impossible.
But I remember sitting in my living room, hearing my mom crying as I’m about to go off to school, in utter shock about what I was watching unfold on TV, trying to put myself in the shoes of people who could never have prepared for what was happening.
We live as if we have control, and we do, over how we think, how we feel, how we live, what we do, but we have no control over how long we can think, feel, live, do.
Remember days like this, so as to be prepared…
…To be present…
…To be grateful…
…To somehow come to grips with how incredibly fragile and random life really is.
You can take care of what you can take care of, that’s it, the future is too unpredictable to rest on what you did yesterday, what you achieved last year.
Remember the brave souls who ran in when others ran out.
That moment made their lives truly worth living. A moment of courage, the result of years of training, preparation, commitment to saving lives at the risk of their own.
And remember the pieces of shit that hijacked those planes.
Evil has no soul, no give, no bounds to its imagination.
Always be ready, strong, and capable.
Always be alive, in the moment, grateful for the sun rising and setting, the wind on your face, the challenges you’re faced with…
Because some have no challenges.
Some have no obstacles to climb.
Those things we complain about were taken from them due to no fault of their own, no reason having anything to do with them.
Love the challenges. Love the obstacles. Love the struggles. Love the pain, the setbacks, the sorrow, the uncertainty, because they’ll all be gone soon, and you’ll have a moment where you’ll wish for them again.