Updated: Sep 29, 2021
My personal 9/11 moment came 5 years later. I took my girls to New York City because I had a chance to present at a conference.We stayed in Midtown Manhattan. Our heads were swirling! For years we had seen movies and TV with New York as the back drop and we were determined to meet this celebrity city. We pretended we were Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda as we hailed cabs and walked past outdoor cafes. We pretended we were Audrey Hepburn, looking into Tiffany’s on Fifth Avenue window with our coffee and doughnut. We went to the ice rink at Rockefeller Center. We held our breath at the Jackson Pollock exhibit at the Guggenheim. We saw the Statue of Liberty from Battery Park.
Battery Park is where my paradigm shifted.
There in Battery Park in the open with no sign, no rope, no fence, no protection was a damaged, blackened gold orb. Huge. Half destroyed. Left for dead.
“What’s that?” My girls asked. I wasn’t sure. Then it dawned on me.
It was the globe from the World Trade Center. I couldn’t believe it! I touched it ever so gingerly, prayerfully.
“That globe is us.” I told my girls.
They didn’t understand. Maybe they do now.
See, I’m not Carrie or her friends. I’ll never be Audrey Hepburn. I’m not an artist or an athlete or an entertainer. But like that globe from the World Trade Center, we are are strong. We might be bruised, blacked and half-destroyed but give us a chance and we will rise up. We will remind you of what we were before the fall. We will show you our broken gorgeousness after the fall. You will see our deep light streaming from our shattered surface. That beauty, that strength is in us. Each of us.
My friend Clara Fe and I talk about opening an immigrant center. We want a beautiful glass globe suspended from the ceiling in the lobby. But I think I’d rather have the World Trade Center globe. To help our immigrants remember that strength and honor and dignity and beauty can be found in the ashes of horror and agony. To teach us the elegance found in our scars. To remind us that God in us gives new life. That no weapon formed against us will prosper.
Not ultimately. To remind me. That globe? It’s me.