I set my alarm to go off at 8:45 this morning, the time my university had announced it would observe a moment of silence. I wasn’t on campus today, but I wanted to participate.
When the alarm went off, I was standing in a parking lot. I stopped for a few minutes and thought about the people who went to work eleven years ago on a lovely September morning, just like today, looking forward to a day of collaboration with colleagues, a day of creativity, but found something so very different, so very wrong. And I thought of those men and women who walked into the chaos, hoping to save strangers. I said a little prayer of thanks for all the wonderful people in my life, and a prayer asking for courage and strength if I ever found myself in a dangerous situation. Then I got in my car and went about my day.
It’s mid-afternoon now; I’ve completed all my errands, checked off much from my “to do” list, and now have welcomed my girls home from school. Despite the heavy sadness we all feel on this day, I can look back and see a lot of joy, and pride in my fellow citizens. There was the truck driver who made space for me to drive out of that parking lot, the cashier who looked me in the eye with a smile and some friendly chatter, the young man who held the door for me even though I was several paces behind. Were people kinder today? Or did I simply notice it more?
Amidst all the Facebook posts urging us never to forget, The Institute for Humane Education shared a photo with the tag line “Be Kind to Everything that Lives.” Yes, that is how I want to remember.
Thank you to all who showed kindness today. You are my heroes.