Tag Archives: reflection

11 Years Ago Today….


Good morning Everyone!

11 years ago today, I was preparing to take two depositions that I had been trying to schedule for months in Birmingham, Alabama on a relatively small case.  I had some time before I had to leave, since they didn’t start until 12 or 1, so was reviewing some notes when Terri, my assistant at the time (back when I had an assistant), came in and said, “Hey, the World Trade Center’s on fire.”  I didn’t understand what she meant, so I asked and she told me that a plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center.  

I remember a sort of “that’s too bad” feeling, the kind you get when a plane crashes anywhere, saying a quick prayer for the victims and wondering how on earth a plane could get that far off course before loading my stuff up and heading out for the depositions.

We got both of them done, and on my way home I stopped at a Birmingham mall to buy some make-up.  When I stopped, I was surprised to see that many of the stores were already closed at 3 in the afternoon, and the rest of them were closing at 6.   I decided then I needed to call Mark (who, due to his father’s death and the winding up of the family business had been between jobs and able to watch the news all day) to find out what was going on.  I had a bag phone then, and you didn’t use them as casually as we use cell phones now. 

I told Mark about the stores’ closing and how surprised I was, and that’s when Mark said, “I don’t think you realize how big this really is.”  That’s when I learned for the first time about the second plane, the towers falling, the Pentagon crash and the field in Pennsylvania.  When I got home that night, I was stunned as I watched the footage of the planes crashing into the towers and the Pentagon and horrified as I watched the Towers crumble into themselves in a cloud of toxic dust.  I was shocked and grieved by the senseless loss of life. 

I remember watching the Memorial Service a few days later at the National Cathedral.  I watched our nation’s leaders file into the church for the ceremony.  Leaders from both parties.  Political opponents who, for at least one brief moment, remembered that they were Americans first.  I watched as then-President Bush got up to speak that day, and noticed that there was not one face in the audience at the Cathedral that envied him being in that position on that day.

For a few weeks, we were all Americans first and everything else second.  Family and God suddenly seemed a lot more important than it had before September 11 and a nation grieved with the victims and their family.

11 years later, September 11, 2001 has changed our nation and many families in ways too profound to comprehend, from the very littlest of items, like the fact that my daughter will never know the feeling of watching breathlessly at the arrival gate for your grandparents to get off the plane as the passengers come down the gangplank, to those irreplaceable losses that leave aching, unfillable  holes, like the death of a loved one. 

I wish September 11, 2001 had not happened.  The costs of that day are still too high and too hard to bear.  A very small part of me, though, wishes that, without the same cost, we as a nation could find ourselves back in that place where we are all Americans first, everything else second.  This feeling doesn’t mean that we all have to agree on everything  all the time, or even most of the time.  It just means that, at the end of the day, we realize that those things that connect us are far stronger than the things that drive us apart.

And my last thought last night before I went to sleep?  One more prayer that, at least for today, we remain safe and whole once more.

Nancy

Advertisements

Mondays


Good morning everyone!

I may have already had a full Monday type Monday morning (you know, the type where everything is discombobulated around you, none of the material you need for everyone to get out of the house in an orderly fashion such as notes for school, book bags, and other such paraphernalia was in the right place, including the precious doctor’s note explaining that Kayla missed Friday at school because she was running a fever and you end up slamming cupboard and closet doors – at least they’re closed!  See, On Cupboard Doors and Closet Shelves ), but the birds outside are completely oblivious.

In the trees at the edge of the court, there is a symphony of song birds greeting the sun.  (I’d be greeting it, too, if I had to sleep outdoors last night; it got down in the 20’s!)  The volume of sound is really astonishing, and if I had more time and it was about 40 more degrees warmer, I’d love to sit down and just listen for a while.

There even is one brave bird sitting on the fence chirping at intermittent intervals.  I think he or she is part of the brave family of birds that nests in the huge rosebush in the back.  Most of the hatchlings, at least three, didn’t make it three years ago, because Mandy and Darwin found them, thought they were really interesting chew toys that squeaked, and Kayla and I couldn’t get out there in time.  After one more year of growth, though, the rose bush was out of the dogs’ reach and some member of the same family (I assume) comes back every year to build its nest.  I really wonder if the principles of natural selection shouldn’t weed this family out (after all, building your nest in the middle of a yard with three dogs who are very interested in sounds, sights and smells is not the safest place) but I’m glad those principles haven’t done so so far.  I like the idea of the sheer stubbornness it takes to come back to a place to claim it as your own even after someone much bigger and larger has tried to chase you away from it.  Now, of course, with the bigger rose bush with corresponding bigger thorns and better height, I believe the nest will be quite safe.

Is there a moral there somewhere?  Probably, but I’m too busy hunting my shoes and my cell phone so I can get out of the door to think through it more deeply – maybe you can come up with one?

Have a great Monday, everyone, or at least a better one than I am having so far!

Nancy

Time for Reflection: Thoughts on Good Friday


Hi Everyone!

If you are a working parent (or really, I think if you are anyone in the crazy world we live in today) there seems to be very little time for reflection.  I don’t know if we are all really that busy, or if we just have so many more delightful (or non-delightful) distractions that call us away from time to just be and think, but please indulge me today as I carve out some time this morning to write, mainly for myself, about the meaning of an important day in my religion, Good Friday. 

From Print Shop Professional 2.0

For Christians, Good Friday commemorates the day that Jesus was crucified.  I have wondered often why Good Friday is called Good Friday, since the event it commemorates is a solemn, horrific event, but a quick jog over to Wikipedia, through the American Heritage Dictionary informs me that when Good Friday was originally named, “Good” had the meaning of “pious or holy.”  So, when you substitute in the word “Holy Friday,” it makes more sense. 

From Print Shop Professional 2.o0

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Christian beliefs, we believe that it was during this week, the week of the Jewish Passover, that Jesus deliberately allowed himself to be arrested and crucified in order to provide redemption for every person’s sins.  Easter, which is always the Sunday after Good Friday, is a special day to remember the most important event in all of Christianity, Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.  Without Good Friday, neither Christmas nor Easter, from a Christian standpoint, would make much sense.

I do wonder, though, whom I would have been if I had been alive during this week in Jesus’ life.  (I began thinking about some of these things from a post I read in  the blog, “Servant’s Life” by Stacy (at www.servantslife.com) called “Christ and the Cross”).  As a modern Christian, I like to think I would have been the one person who stood by Jesus throughout his entire ordeal, knowing with confidence the true meaning of this death, but the wiser part of me knows better.

You see, NOW I have the advantage of knowing the entire story. At the time, the people involved were in the middle of it, and even Jesus’ closest friends and followers were shocked, scared and bewildered by what was going on. Would I have been a follower, scared and bewildered? Would I have been one of the people seeking His death due to what I saw as an intolerable threat to the status quo in the politically torn world of Israel under the Romans? Would I have been one of the people in the streets who didn’t really care what was going on in the temple, the Roman governor’s office or the hill of Golgotha (the place where the crucifixion took place) thinking that what happened up there didn’t affect me?  Would I have been someone who believed in Jesus in secret, but not brave enough to speak out for Him or defend Him?  Would I have been one of those who mocked Him as He was scourged, suffering, and crucified? Would I have been throwing lots at the foot of the cross for His clothes?  These questions are uncomfortable, and I will leave the conclusions I reached (if any) private, but I think it is an important point for me to reflect on.

From Print Shop 2.0 Professional

 My other thought about Good Friday is simply how it takes a conscious effort to keep my daughter aware of what this weekend really means – that Good Friday and Easter have a deeper meaning beyond the impending arrival of the Easter Bunny (although we participate in that with glee and enjoy it) but about something deeper and more important.  I imagine that other parents in other religions also have to work to help their children understand the meaning of important events in their religions.  It is not inappropriate to take this small moment of reflection to evaluate my efforts in this area, too.   However, my conclusions I will keep private. 

From Print Shop Professional 2.o

However solemn Good Friday is, the main point of Easter is love and hope.  So, whatever events you are or are not celebrating this weekend, I wish for you to experience both.  Thank you for your indulgence, and I hope each of you have a wonderful weekend, and a Happy Easter!

Nancy

Remembering the Maine


Good morning everyone! 

I hope the thunderstorms moving through the South/Southeast yesterday and last night left you unscathed.  We did okay, I think, except for a lack of sleep on Kayla’s part that does NOT make me envy her teachers today!

The Maine Monument, Key West Cemetery

 Time for reflection is often rare these days, but while we were in Key West, Mark and I had the chance (well, really, I forced him) to go by the Key West Cemetery.  Old cemeteries, cemeteries with lots of history in them, are usually very quiet places good for reflection, and to find such a oasis of calm amid the bustle of the Historic District in the rest of Key West was a true pleasure.

We couldn’t stay long, but we were able to see the one place in the cemetery I wanted to see, which was Key West’s monument to those soldiers who died when the U.S.S. Maine exploded in the harbor of Havana, Cuba on February 15, 1898. 

As a result of the explosion, 266 men died.  The cause of the explosion remains controversial to this day, but the purpose of this entry is NOT to answer a question that is still in dispute after over 100 years, but simply to remember 266 men who died serving their country. 

Key West was the last stop the Maine had made, for refueling and obtaining supplies, before it went on to the Havana harbor.  When the ship exploded, those bodies that could be recovered immediately, and the wounded, were sent back to Key West.  About two dozen of the sailors of the U.S.S. Maine are buried in the small enclosure, and the City, at its own expense, placed the monument to them that stands there today, a sailor holding an oar.  (Eventually, an extensive recovery operation in Havana harbor took place, and many of the other dead sailors are buried at Arlington National Cemetery.) 

When we were at the cemetery, it was a perfect day, with the breeze that comes off the Atlantic Ocean and the breeze from the Gulf taking turns twisting through the trees and over the grass.  It was peaceful.  The U.S.S. Maine area of the cemetery is enclosed with a small metal fence, and there are other markers and persons buried in it, including a monument put up by the survivors of a torpedo boat that fought in the Spanish-American war to their fellow serviceman who died the year after the Maine exploded.  

So, the next time you are somewhere and two gentle winds take a moment to swirl in the grass or trees around you, stop for just a minute to breathe a prayer for the safety of all of those men and women who choose to defend their country, and one of thanks for those who were willing to serve and in doing so, paid for their service with their lives. 

Ground Marker in the Maine section of the Key West Cemetery

Finally, to all of you for today, I can wish you nothing better than that you find, at the end of your life, that the following epitaph, also in place at the Key West cemetery but in a different section, is perfect for you:  God was good to me.

Have a great day everyone!

Nancy