Reflection / Appreciation – paying it forward in baby steps!

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Today is a day filled with mixed emotions.

Each day I am on a quest for my roots, my past … but today is the present and a life is gift and reason to celebrate one another!

Today is almost like any any other these past months; I smell the coffee, my sons arise happy to greet the world, the Ewoks want breakfast and hunt me down as I go through the morning routine. The only respite from their jumping is to put a little bit of a treat in their food. Their food and water is down most of the time; Shih Tzu’s aren’t gluttons; in fact they are more on the anorexic side – at least mine are.

I ready for work; say my goodbye’s – thank my mother-in-law and request that she last another day and NOT quit as she is left alone with my energetic guys.

I am driving to work and there it is on the radio – a reminder that at 9:03 the first tower was struck. A moment of silence …

Sadness overcomes me and I remember that day.

A this time 13 years ago I was on a long haul to my office 45 minutes away – without traffic. I chose to drive the parkway adjacent to Jones Beach to escape the traffic. I was listening to an audio book, so I had no idea of what was unfolding.I felt the sun shining – it’s warmth beating down on my arm through the open window. A memory lingered of the evening before when we had been to MSG to attend an MJ concert.

Sadness continues to envelope me as I remember the next hour, the frantic phone calls, the looks of sadness, unknowing, confusion and ultimately despair on my co-workers faces. I remember everything about this particular day 13 years later and I suspect that I [with many many others] will always remember this day in it’s entirety, as well as the days that followed.

That day we waited to hear – the phone to ring to hear that familiar voice that would offer us a a semblance of peace for the moment. Finally to have our hopes realized; that family members were safe, and friends were safe, and friends families and friends were safe.

Not all the news was good – we were lucky our immediate family escaped – not unscathed but eventually made their way home where we had gathered and waited as a clan. My cousin living in Maryland had just given birth in DC. She was evacuated and had to leave the hospital on foot with her newborn in tow. Every time the phone rang that day – the air was filled with heavy anticipation of who or what we would hear on the other end. Physically cut off from getting them ourselves; we were left in an emotional state of uncertainty.

Today especially we remember as a nation those that gave their all; but they hadn’t signed up for this. Their families weren’t prepared for this. Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, fire fighters, EMT’s, law enforcement for NYPD & Port Authority, stock brokers, waiters, waitresses, Pentagon personnel, military personnel, flight attendants, pilots, passengers and more  … people form NY, NJ and even from around the world. People!

I am proud to be a US Citizen and honored to be a New Yorker; proud of our strength and courage in the face of more than just adversity – but of a hate crime.

As a Buddhist I take the path of forgiveness and acceptance and even of non-violence. This act though tests my core beliefs and the ability of forgiveness. Acceptance – I have no choice; it has happened; I couldn’t stop it.I had no control over it. I do have control over my actions.

How can one person change the world.

One small act of kindness goes along way!

Realize that everyone is important regardless of their role in life; a job does not define a person; neither does their financial status. We are defined by our ability to love and care for one another.

                                   Smile at someone today;                                                                   make eye contact;                                                                          wave or say hello.                                                                  Care about another human being!                                                 The greatest gift any one can                                     receive is to know they are not invisible!

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