We are wired for stories. Stories are featured in our best moments of learning, we tell them to calm ourselves down, to join with other people, to make sense of things and to honor the few decades we get on the pebble.
Here’s one of mine—and I share it with you in hopes of hearing one of yours.
Ten years ago this week Kari and I and some good friends were in rural Tuscany learning to paint with water colors. Idyllic, huh? We were in the small hill town of Pienza when I sensed the mood in the central square of the village shifting from content and peaceful, to alarmed. People began to huddle, and I walked up to a fellow painter who had turned noticeably pale. “Our nation has been attacked,” she said quietly, uneasily. Nearby, I heard a soft Italian voice, “Tragedia.”
With no smart-phones to consult, we joined the cluster around a television in a nearby bar and watched the crash of the second airplane. Together–Italians, Americans and Australians and Brits—we stopped breathing and then we gasped and groaned. After a few minutes, noticing that the tv reporters were nearly as speechless as we were, an Englishman said to no one in particular, but to all of us, “There’s a chapel across the way. We should go pray.” And we did. Our little temporary, international tribe crossed the narrow street and entered a small church where hundreds of candles were already burning. And in my life, the calming, the making sense and the honoring began right there.
What’s your 9/11 story? I’ve never heard one that didn’t help me know the teller better. Even if (like me) you’re being careful to not watch too much media this week, I encourage you to tell your story—write a little bit about it on my blog, or just find a few of the people in your life who want to know you better and tell them.
Like me, you are wired for stories.
Thanks for sharing, Patty. Your story gave me the chills. Very vividly told.
My story is one of peace in the midst of the shock. I was laying in bed, breastfeeding my brand-new, 2 month old baby. I noticed that the normally very quiet construction crew building the house next door suddenly turned the radio up too loud. I was annoyed and surprised. But turned back to admire the coo-ing baby. Then my husband came in and told me the news. I didn’t want to know it or hear it. I wanted to stay in my safe little cocoon with my dear baby and her baby smells.
Over the next few weeks, I was struck by how the calm, sweetness of the moment before never seemed to leave me and is now somehow, weirdly and forever associated with the event. I see it as the peace that passes understanding. That maybe we can be okay in the midst of horror. That we are never too far from the love of God.
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Yes, thank you for sharing your story. You have also inspired me to look back on that day…