Sunday, September 11, 2011
...stReNgTh cOmEs aFteR aDveRsiTy...
It seems so silly that here I sit...in Texas...not personally knowing a single person that was there that day in September...10 years ago...yet the tears stream down my cheeks as I try to write this. My heart breaks for people I do not know and if I allow it to, the anger could be overwhelming.
I'm no different than many people. I can tell you where I was that awful day. I still vividly remember everything around me. I can almost remember how the towel felt in my hands that I was folding...how I dropped it and sat on my bed and cried...8 months pregnant...scared to death...with a toddler in the other room sleeping that was completely unaware of how the world changed while she napped. I remember crying...for days.
Honestly, I don't even want to turn on the TV today...not because I don't want to pay tribute or because I don't care. It hurts. It's funny how the pain of the "heart" can be worse than any physical pain we could possibly endure...but then again...while our heart is technically an organ, it is made up of cardiac muscle.
The pain we experience after a tough workout comes from tiny tears created in the muscle. Within 12 to 24 hours, our white blood cells begin to try and repair the damage, but along with the repair comes pain and soreness. It can last a day or two and then it subsides. It isn't fun to experience that discomfort but those of us that understand what is happening can actually come to enjoy it...not because it feels good...but because we know it serves a purpose. As these tears repair themselves, our muscles become a little stronger...more resilient...a little more prepared to endure the same type of exercise even better the next time we do it. The muscle does not immediately grow and we are not immediately able to lift more weight in the following days. It takes time for the muscle fibers to build up so that we become stronger.
I guess in some ways, our hearts are no different than our biceps or quads. Things happen...tragedies occur...and tiny tears are created in our hearts. Just like workouts, the intensity varies and so does the pain afterwards. If we give up at the first sign of pain or tell ourselves that we cannot endure, then we never give ourselves the opportunity to grow stronger.
9/11 was more than a tiny tear in the "muscle" of my heart. It felt as though it had been ripped in half and although I have healed...the scar tissue remains. Just as aches and pains come from old injuries, today I feel that old ache in my heart. I think we all do. The ache...the pain...is not bad or wrong. It serves a purpose if we let it. It sounds cliche, but I do truly feel that America is stronger because of the attacks on 9/11 ten years ago. As much as I want to avoid the sadness that I know I will surely feel today, I won't. I will take the time to give thanks for all that I have...right here in front of me. I will take a moment and be grateful that there are men and women that have jobs where they willingly risk their lives to save the lives of others. I will not run from the pain. I'll take it in and embrace the opportunity to grow stronger from it.