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Harriet Ling, LMBT


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Nine Eleven

Sept. 11, 2001:  I was glued to the TV, watching the horror unfold along with the rest of the country.  I was so grateful to be home-schooling both my boys that year, so I could hug them close immediately.  I was even grateful that their father, my soon-to-be ex-husband, was nearby, and safe. 

After hours of trying, and failing, to process the day’s events, I managed to tear myself away from the constant stream of updates and replays, and headed out to feed the horses.  They were patiently waiting, completely oblivious to the fact that in just a few hours the whole world as we knew it had changed.  I was struck by the contrast between the energy in my living room and the energy in my barn.

In their quiet steadfast way, the horses were able to bring me back to center, back to feeling the ground beneath my boots, back to the here and now.  My panic, my horror, my despair, my loss of what I thought I could count on... none of it had convinced them that any reaction was needed from them.  Their world was the same that day as it had been the day before, and for many days before that.

And as they tend to do any time I’ll listen, they brought to me a major Life Lesson.  Here is what they said to me that day:  Love bigger, love now, because now is all we can really count on.  Don’t waste time worrying about what just happened, or what might happen.  Use the time you have to show those who are in your world that you care, that you are paying attention, that you love them.  

THIS is how I try to honor those whose lives were cut short so unfairly that day.  Not by keeping hatred or fear or sadness or grief alive forever, not by replaying the horrific scenes from twelve years ago endlessly, but by remembering to love those who I treasure most, who are still in the here and now with me.  If I occupy my heart and mind with more Love in my life, then there’s less room for hate.  If I can only extend that love a few feet, or to only one or two people, or just to animals or children or one tiny kitten, then that is still better than sending hate out anywhere.  That is still going to be a move toward peace.  If I love what I can, when I can, and let the rest go, I’m one less person perpetuating the cycle of violence.  I pay tribute by turning away from the TV, away from the world’s drama, and toward my own treasured little world.  I pause a little longer to tell my horses thank you.  In filling my moments with gratitude for what is, I hold at bay the hell that wants to resurface on this 9-11 anniversary.  

Yes, may I never forget.  But may I be mindful about how I remember.