Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Where were you on 9-11?

Spinning Your Gold Blog: Words that Open Hearts and Inspire Actions
On 9-11-18, what appears to be the One World Trade Center, pokes into the sunrise.
The plane’s engine takes up the foreground.
Where were you the morning of 9-11?

Me? The coastal city of La Ceiba, Honduras.
Seventeen years ago I was teaching an 8th-grade science class at the International School of Mazapan.

A breathless student bolted into the classroom announcing, "One of the towers has been hit!"
"What tower?!" I exclaimed.
"The Twin Towers!" he gasped while dashing out of the classroom.

On this day 17 years ago--and despite being surrounded by 27 hormonally-charged teens--I felt the most alone sensations that I had ever experienced then, or now. Scary territory.

I put a student in charge and ran to the administration office!

The emotional hurricane that made landfall on my heart literally hurt.

I did see in real-time the plane hit the second tower.

I did watch in horror-- all of it--live on TV with colleagues huddled around a 17" TV screen in the Teacher's Lounge.

I did decide that day to return to the states after finishing my year of teaching. My plans to leave Honduras and teach at the Guatemala International School went up in smoke like Manhattan's clouds of grey ash!

I did yearn to close my eyes and imagine that I was watching a movie. And if that wasn't possible, I wanted to close my eyes and wake up in St. Petersburg, FL.

It never happened.

And I did return home a year later to a country forever changed.

What decisions did you make that day?

Daily inspirational color palettes can be found on Design Seeds.

As I walked back to the classroom, I felt like the unmanned skiff above, floating away from the "Known Island" on the horizon.

I felt like a cork bobbing on the ocean...small, powerless and out of control.

I felt like a Benedict Arnold for not being in my country.

My aching to be back in America shifted to full throttle.

How did you feel?

Here are four, forever expatriate takeaways from 9-11:

* I learned that feeling "safe" is an illusion. 

* I realized that if someone intends harm, it will most likely happen. No sense in trying to prevent anything. That worry energy attracts what you don't seek.

* I refueled my patriotic love and pride of being an American.

* I remembered that the family is everything

Be near and just love them because...

P.S. My prayers for healing continue streaming to all those who lost loved ones that day and for our collective loss of feeling secure and safe. Prayers also continue for all those who would harm anyone in this way.

P.P.S. You're invited to join my Writer's VisionQuest--a women's free, private Facebook group.  Our intention is to "transform your words into somewhere brilliant." 


  1. I was home that day when I received a phone call to turn on the news. I couldn't believe my eyes. I couldn't stop watching for the rest of the day. My heart went out to everyone. There have been so many tragedies in life from huge to small. Like you said, I continue to pray for those who would want to harm anyone. I continue to pray for a change. For everyone to have a change in their heart. To fill this world with more love, kindness and compassion.

    1. Lore RaymondSeptember 12, 2018 at 6:55 AM
      Agreed....prayers so needed!

  2. Love is all there is...I so appreciate your lessons from 9/11 and thank you for your lovely reflection. My husband woke me up right before the first tower fell and we watched in disbelief to the rest of the tragedy unfolded on tv in front of our eyes. I have spent quite a bit of time in NYC over the last ten years and feel like it is hallowed ground. Thank you for reflecting the most important lesson love is all there is!

    1. Yes, yes, yes. And I know the work you share does just this...LOVE, Kelley. xo

  3. I was sleeping when it happened, my mother called me from Israel and we (me, husband and brother) were watching the news as the confusion unfolded, as we all realized it was a plane that hit the first building, as the second building was hit and then as the buildings collapsed. I have just moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn and my brother insisted on going to see it with his own eyes, he walked there and back, there was no transportation, and I witnessed him coming back along with many people, over the bridge, covered in dust. My aunt and cousins live across the street from the twins and I couldn't get a hold of them all day, it was paralyzingly scary and thank God they are all ok.
    Growing up in Israel I experienced many wars and terrorist attacks and one of the things that happened after 9/11 is that people became very sympathetic to me and kept telling me "so that's what it feels like". Yup, that's what it feels like. But I also experienced the closeness and camaraderie that followed the attack, people hugging strangers in the streets, crying together, listening to each other, there was grace and love that was amazing following the tragedy.
    Our neighborhood fire house lost more than half it's men in the rescue missions and the coop I belong to provided them and the surviving families free food for a whole year afterwards. There were many stories like that of bravery, sacrifice and selflessness all around.
    I still look for the twins in the skyline...

    1. You have experienced so much, Rachel. "...It was paralyzingly scary. " How wonderful that you and your community supported the firemen.
      Like you, I stil "look for the twins in the skyline..."
      Thank you for sharing these tender memories.

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  5. On 9/11 I was at work at the regional billing office of a home health care agency. Some of my co-workers were actually on the phone with their counterparts at insurance companies that had offices in the towers. They heard the screams of their contacts over the phone when the first plane hit. I don't think any of us were ever the same after that. Having been born and raised in New York City, I knew without a doubt that my fellow New Yorkers would ban together and help each other regardless of race, ethnicity or anything else. I have come to realize that we are stronger when we stand together, that hate never wins, and that we don't need to wait for a tragedy to do the right thing.

    1. I can't imagine hearing the screams...there are no words, Barb. How could anyone be the same. So true. Didn't know that you were born and raised in NYC...I always envision you in the countryside.
      Your closing statement so touched me. Yes. " when we stand together, that hate never wins, and that we don't need to wait for a tragedy to do the right thing."

  6. It's amazing how 09-11 touched so many people around the globe. I was 36 weeks pregnant with Joe on 09-11 and later went into labor from the stress. The nurse told me that I didn't want to have my baby that day, and they gave me some muscle relaxers to reduce labor. It worked! Joe was born a couple of weeks later.

    1. Wow! What a story, Jill! Thank goodness for that angel of a nurse. Joe, nor you would want teh birth date of 9-11. Thanks for sharing this tender story.

  7. I think so many of us can recall where were that moment, and that day.


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