Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hurricanes and 9/11 and Other Storms of Life

Here we 're waiting to see if Hurricane Ike will hit us dead on or turn aside. It seems the forecast changes practically every hour. And it brings back memories of the year my daughter was starting college. We lived on the east coast then and she was headed to the west coast. She was trying to pack, not knowing if her flight would even be able to leave in the morning as her dad and I frantically pumped water out of our repeatedly flooding carpeted family room thanks to the remnants of a hurricane that raged outside. Fortunately the hurricane blew through faster than expected and my daughter made her flight just fine.

A couple of years later, it was 9/11 that hit the morning my daughter and I were headed to the shore for a couple of days together before she flew back to college. We were in shock and worried about family in NYC and friends who might have been there. We walked the beach and talked about her options to get out to the west coast before classes started if the planes stayed grounded. We talked about life and what mattered and of the grief we felt over all those lost lives.

My daughter will come over for dinner tomorrow night and we may reminisce. If the storm continues to head our way I'll bring in all my potted plants and anything else that could be tossed around by high winds. I'm ready if we have a few days without power.

What I think of most as I think of these experiences is the different ways people I know—including me—handled these situations. I remember the good things that people did to help each other in difficult times. I celebrate those who found a way to focus on something besides themselves and their own fears.

Every crisis is a chance for each of us to rise above our fears. Each crisis is a chance for us to look at our lives and decide what matters most. May we always remember the lives lost on 9/11 and may we always celebrate the courage and concern for others that we also saw that day.