“Tonight there is a war going on, 10,000 miles away, but for me the day was pretty much like any other day.”
I wrote those words in a journal in August of 1990 – at the start of the Persian Gulf War. I remember that day more because of the events in my own life – like the birth of my first child. These are the moments in time, like birthdays and graduations, that we mark time with. They document the passing of a precious commodity in lines on a wall showing the growth of our children or the lines on our faces.
There are moments in time, though, like 9/11, that we mark time against. How long it’s been since and how life has changed. It is both a “because of” and “in spite of” moment revealing how far we are willing to go for one another yet how far we still need to go. We now measure things with a different yardstick – whether it’s the height of a building or the depth of our sorrow. It’s the stories within, that count, with details that can never be erased. So much has changed, and yet, it hasn’t. As reflected in that full journal entry…
“Tonight there is a war going on 10,000 miles away, but for me the day was pretty much like every other day. I made the beds, and washed the dishes, and rocked my baby to sleep. But then I said a little prayer for the peace we could not keep”.
It’s interesting – this circular nature of time and the times of our lives – because 16 years ago, when the war on terror came to our door, I was literally, building a new door for my family. A house under construction and in its final stages and,today, I am in that exact same spot. Putting finishing touches on another house – yet nothing is the same because of the battles that took place behind closed doors.
Just as I did in 2001, I stopped and listened and prayed when the news of the attack was broadcast. This time it was a moment of silence for those we had lost instead of the gasping, grasping, unknowing of what we were in the midst of losing. I am different now, too – because of these world and personal events and it’s right that I am not the same. The things I lost in my divorce and what we lost as a country were security and dreams for lives that will no longer be. But we still have hope. To rebuild and rethink and reimagine because of what we’ve been through, not in spite of it.
So, hold your babies tight, no matter how tall they have grown and keep building your own piece of peace. In spite of everything and because of everything, sometimes all we can do is all we can do.