So much time has passed, yet I remember exactly where I was and what was happening that morning. I suspect most of those my age do, just like we remember exactly where we were on November 22, 1963. Unlikely 1963, when I was in college at Texas Western in El Paso, Texas, on September 11th, 2001 I was in the Washington, DC area. I happened to be in Northern Virginia on my way to a meeting. When I turned on the car radio the station had already broken to the network and there was talk of a small plane hitting the World Trade Center. I arrived at my destination, I found myself on the balcony of a skyscraper watching as an airplane dipped suddenly below the horizon followed by a pillar of smoke. It had hit the Pentagon.
These are moments that are etched in our brains never to be forgotten. Yet these are as nothing compared to those who were either present at the sites of the attacks or who lost people they loved. For them, the holes in the souls are cavernous.
In the past few years I have come to explore the nature of love and loss through the lens of The Actual Dance. I almost lost Susan in 2000, who was then my wife of 34 years (now 50 years). What I did not know then, and which time has taught me, is how deeply I was changed by that experience. It was the gift of time, in my case, to understand more clearly the meaning of love and life. It became the purpose of my life, not to “fix” the world so no one else would ever get breast cancer, but to reveal my heart and proclaim the gift of love that enabled me to do something I could not imagine doing. Perhaps it will help others.
Time has so much to offer. At whatever our own pace and whatever path we must take, we reconcile our experience with our being. Time doesn’t lessen anything. It just gives us a chance to be something new in light of the uninvited changes in our lives.
On this the 15th anniversary of that moment etched in the hearts and souls of so many, that “unthinkable moment” that actually happened, it is my hope that the time has offered the gift of deeper meaning and love for what was so that what is and will be is even richer and more beautiful.