September 06, 2009

Summer Turns Part 3


Continued from part 2

It is here that my family's story intersects with the much larger flashbulb moment of 9/11 and it is here that I will take the liberty to break from the narrative form for a moment and delve into realms of perception. 

As with the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated or the explosion of Space Shuttle Challenger everyone has a story of where they were when they heard such news. That is why these moments are called flashbulb moments; they burn into our minds leaving a distinct memory in the same way that a very bright light will leave behind an image before our eyes. Still, although these moments are uniquely shared by the masses they remain a metaphorical Grand Central Station where all of the individual trains are arriving at once. These trains are people and the lifetime that preceded their arrival at the station dramatically effects the impression they will have of the station once they arrive there.

I believe it was the American Lung Association which ran a commercial that warned: “when you can’t breathe, nothing else matters.” Barely able to breathe is how some trains arrived at the station that day and I am sure this equated to barely able to care. I would never tell a person who could barely breathe they were remiss for their lack of compassion or concern but I did have incredible struggles with myself over the fact that I was in love and very, very happy. I refused to let this event dampen that fire in the slightest and consequently, over the next several weeks I found myself hiding my joy from others around me. I also found myself questioning whether or not I was within my rights to be so focused on my own life and happiness at a time when my country was mourning, enraged, confused and in shock. 

Eventually, I realized that there were various realms of perception at play and that my persistent happiness did not imply a lack of caring but simply a willingness to trust my strong instincts that I had invested honestly and innocently in a course of action I believed in and that this simply must be done when the moment arises despite the severity of external circumstance. In fact, I now believe that attempting to alter my perceptions to accommodate the fear and suffering which seemed to be everywhere around me would simply have added more of the same and that would not have done anyone good.

The experience taught me how to truly own a belief in my ability to exist on different levels at once and how to seek and receive council from any of my many minds. 


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