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On compassion for the journey

Yesterday, as you know, was the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attack.

Ever since then, on the anniversary I always find myself feeling very sensitive, bewildered and melancholy. This year was no different. I remembered how perfect the weather was that day, and yesterday turned out to be the same. I remembered where I was, tracking down where everyone I loved was and then watching over and over and over again on TV. I remembered how I eventually -- angrily, I think -- told my household to turn it off. I remembered being baffled by the enormity of the act; who would ever hijack passenger planes, kill people in cold blood and fly them into the twin towers, the Pentagon and who knows where that fourth one was headed? Who? Why? Why? I remembered volunteering twice in the weeks that followed, serving food to first responders at ground zero, just trying to do something to help someone. I remembered the kindness of strangers. So many people had the same impulse to help anyone they could help.

As I was driving around doing errands yesterday, all these memories were running around in my head. And then a song came on the radio. I recognized the tune but couldn't place it at first until I remembered another sad and awful time. The song was the recessional for my mother's funeral. Then I started feeling sad about missing Mom. It's been four years now. It wasn't long before all of these memories and feelings just swirled up together inside and my tears came -- for all of it. All the lost lives. All the questions. All the anger and hurt.

I can't change the past. I know that. And I can't know the future. I know that too. All any of us ever have is this moment. Sometimes, "this moment" is painful. We hurt. We cry. We are sad, confused, bewildered, angry, scared. All that is okay because it has to be; this is what it means to be alive. With compassion for myself, I let my tears come. I let my heart open up and hurt. Because that was my moment then.

Whatever path I am on -- or path you are on -- it is one journey. In spite of the twists and turns, the ups and downs, it's all the one path, one journey, one life. There are moments when it hurts so much, all you can do is cry. Be brave. Be compassionate with yourself. And, sometimes on the journey, you have to let the tears fall.

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